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Scot­tish me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer James Watt (1736-1819), wanted a de­vice to copy his in­tri­cate plans and draw­ings, which pre­vi­ously had to be done by hand, so he in­vented one. Best known for his steam ma­chine that pow­ered the in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion, Watt patented the de­vice in 1780. Com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful, it worked in a way that re­mained in use un­til the ar­rival of the mod­ern pho­to­copier. What an old farm­house in West Lan­cashire was do­ing with a ma­hogany cased ex­am­ple of Watt’s copy­ing ma­chine dat­ing from around 1800 is any­one’s guess, but de­spite be­ing in need of restoratio­n, it at­tracted mul­ti­ple bids in a War­ren & Wig­nall auc­tion in Ley­land to sell to the Lon­don trade for £1,050.

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