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What Makes Great Leaders Great by Frank Arnold

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CHAPTER 14

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LEARNING FROM

James Watt

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Most people believe that James Watt (1736–1819) invented the steam engine—but actually they are mistaken. The first modern steam engine was built by the English blacksmith and ironmonger Thomas Newcomen in 1712. Newcomen’s engine performed a very useful task: it pumped water out of an English mine. However, Newcomen’s machine was highly inefficient, earning it a reputation as a “coal guzzler.” Newcomen’s early design was itself based on experiments by French and English inventors who started testing ways of converting steam into kinetic energy as early as 1700 (almost 30 years before James Wattt’s ...

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