Let’s be honest, the opening ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics was phenomenal. Thanks to the artistic directory of Danny Boyle, the way in which Great Britain was creatively illustrated from the point of the Industrial Revolution, certainly made me feel proud to be British!
It also got me thinking. I’ve always been intrigued by the speed at which we rose towards industrial glory, and let’s face it without those magical years, of which some may think a little eccentric, perhaps we would not be hosting the world-famous games right now.
The invention of the atmospheric steam engine was truly the start of a period of time, perhaps distinguishable in its own right. However, although we may be aware of James Watt and George Stephenson as pioneering entrepreneurial inventors, it was in fact Thomas Newcomen who had invented and produced the first atmospheric steam engine (the Newcomen’s Engine) at the start of the 18th Century. This was initially designed to pump excess water out of the mines, but was later redesigned by James Watt, as the patent expired following Newcomen’s death, allowing the design to be within the public domain.
This perhaps being one of the first of many ‘chance opportunities’. For if the patent remained, there may never have been a redesign as there was. A gentleman of the name Roebuck helped Watt out financially so as he could pursue the design for the engine, however several years later, Roebuck’s debts meant he was forced to sell the patent. The remaining shares were then sold on favourable terms to Boulton of Soho Birmingham. Again, had it not been for these debts, Boulton would not have had majority share in the patent.
Correct me if I am wrong, but at this point I believe Watt was bound to pursue his career as a surveyor of bridges and had almost given up on the idea of the engine. As fate or misfortune would have it, in September 1773 James Watt’s wife suddenly passed away, and he and his family decided to relocate to Birmingham to join his partner Boulton.
The beginning of the most remarkable partnership in the history of the Industrial Revolution
I think this brief outline has demonstrated clearly, that despite the arduous grind of successfully producing the atmospheric engine that we know of today, a tale of woe and misfortune led to the rise and fall of the famous Cotton and Wool Industry, carving a path for technology to behold for generations to come.
This leads me to suggest, that although life may take an undesirable path at times, it is worth contemplating that whether you are dealt a hand of fate or misfortune, a mass of incredible fortune may indeed rise from within.
So, don’t dwell on the could have or should have, but embrace the present and begin to carve your future.