Boulton & Watt on New £50 Note

Lynne Kiesling

Industrial revolutionaries, rejoice! The Bank of England is honoring one of the most fruitful and enterprising inventor-entrepreneur partnerships in economic history, Matthew Boulton and James Watt, by putting their images on the new £50 note.

You are probably familiar with James Watt as the inventor of the double-acting steam engine and other accompanying improvements that enabled mechanization and the ultimate replacement of animate, water, and wind power for the industrial transformations of the 19th century. Watt’s hard work and vision created a power source that enabled a dramatic increase in productivity, innovation, living standards, and transformational economic growth.

But Watt was also an irascible inventor who did not relish the customer-facing aspect of commercializing his inventions, which was where Matthew Boulton came in. Boulton’s background in manufacturing metal products, combined with his business sense and his “people skills”, made the partnership of Boulton and Watt a commercial success and the firm of Boulton & Watt one of the most profitable and influential pioneers of mechanization and industrialization. They truly changed the world for the better.

HT: Boing Boing