In our very best and largest engines, the waste found by Watt to constitute three fourths of all heat supplied has been brought down to ten per cent., a fact which well exemplifies the advances made since his time of apprenticeship by himself and his successors of this nineteenth century. The steam engine of to-day, in its most successful operation, gives us twenty-five times as much power from a pound of coal as did the engine that the great inventor sought to improve: this is the magnificent fruit of that one discovery of James Watt, and of application of the simple principle which he so concisely and clearly stated.

The method adopted by Watt to secure a remedy, so far as practicable, of this defect of the older machine was as simple and as perfect as was the principle which it embodied. He first removed from the cylinder the prime source of its wastes; providing a separate condenser, and thus avoiding the repeated chilling of its surfaces by the cold water used in condensing the steam at exhaust, and also permitting its strokes to be made with far greater frequency, thus giving less time for cooling by the influence of the remaining vapors after condensation. He next went still further, and provided the cylinder with a closed top, keeping out the air, and a "jacket" of hot boiler steam to keep it as hot as the steam which entered it. These were the two great improvements which converted the first real steam engine into an economical form of heat engine and essentially finished the work so grandly begun by Newcomen and Calley. These changes gave us the modern steam engine; and these are Watt's first and greatest, but by no means only, contributions to the production of the modern world with all its comforts, its luxuries and its opportunities for material, intellectual and moral advancement of individual and of race. His work was to this extent complete in 1765.

But Watt did not stop here. There still remained for him the no less important and the, in some senses, still more imposing, work of finding employment for the new servant of mankind and of setting it at its work of giving the human arm a thousand times greater strength, to the mind of man uncounted opportunities to promote the advancement of knowledge, of civilization, of every good of the race. His was still the task of adapting the new machine to all the purposes of modern industry. It had been hitherto confined to the task of raising water from the depths of the mine; it was now to be harnessed to the railway train; to be made to drive the machinery of the mill, to apply its marvelous power to the impulsion of the river boat and ocean steamer; to furnish energy, through endless systems of transfer and use, to every kind of work that man could devise and should invent. All this meant the giving of the machine forms as various as the purposes to which it was to be devoted. It had previously only raised and depressed a rod; it must now turn a shaft. It had then only operated a pump; it must now turn a mill, grind our grain, spin our threads, weave our cloths, drive our shops and factories, supply the powerful blast of the iron furnace.

It must be made to move with the utmost conceivable regularity, and must, with all this, do its work in the development of the hidden energy of the fuel, with the greatest possible economy, through the expansion of its steam. All this was achieved by James Watt.

The invention of the double-acting engine, in which the impulsion of the steam is felt both in driving the piston forward and in forcing it backward, both upward and downward, the application of its force through crank and fly wheel, the creation of an automatic system of governing its speed, and the discovery of the economy due to its complete expansion, were all improvements of the first magnitude, and of the greatest practical importance; and all these were in rapid succession brought into existence by the creative mind that had apparently been brought into the world for the express purpose of giving to the hand of man this mighty agent, to perfect the mightiest power that mind of man has yet conceived.

But to do the rest required more than inventive genius and mechanical skill. It demanded capital and the stored energy of labor and genius in other fields, directed by the mind of a great "captain of industry." This came to Watt through Matthew Boulton, a manufacturer of Birmingham, whose father and ancestors had gradually and toilsomely, as always, accumulated the property needed for the prosecution of a great business. The combination of genius and capital is always an essential to success in such cases; and good fortune, a Providence, we may well say, brought together the genius and the capitalist to do their work, hand in hand, of providing the world with the steam engine. Hand in hand they worked, and all the world to-day, and the race throughout its future life, must testify gratitude for the inexpressible obligations under which these two men have placed them, doing the work of the world.

Boulton & Watt, the capitalist with the inventor, gave the world the steam engine, finally, in such form and in such numbers that its permanent establishment as the servant of man was insured. The capitalist was as essential an element of success as was the inventor, and, in this instance, as in a thousand others, the race is indebted to that much-abused friend of the race, the capitalist, for much that it enjoys of all that it desires. The industry and patience, the skill and the wisdom required for the accumulation of this energy stored for future use in great enterprises is as important, as essential, as inventive power or any other form of genius. Talent and genius must always aid each other. This firm was established in 1764 and its main resources, aside from the bank account, were Watt's patent, about expiring, and Watt's genius, and Boulton's talent as a man of business. The patent was extended for twenty-four years, the new inventions of Watt, now beginning to pour from his prolific brain in a wonderful stream, were also patented, and the whole works were soon employed upon the construction of engines for which numerous orders soon began to pour in upon the now prosperous builders.