FIRST EDITION OF CARNEGIE'S BIOGRAPHY OF JAMES WATT, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR
CARNEGIE, Andrew. James Watt. New York: Doubleday, Page, 1905. Octavo, original red cloth. $2600.
First edition of the steel tycoon's account of James Watt's life and inventions, inscribed by the author, "F.M. Wilmot, Esq., with deep regard, Andrew Carnegie, New York, May 11th, 1906."
Watt's childhood fascination with his aunt's boiling tea kettle anticipated his contributions to the steam revolution. "Between 1775 and 1825 the Watt engine was adopted by many of the most eminent leaders of the manufacturing industry and canal transport… [Watt's] name became a byword for Scottish ingenuity and assiduity… [His steam engine was] of profound cultural and economic significance… and of his genius as an engineer there can be little doubt" (DNB). Best known as an industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie was also a prolific author, penning 63 articles and eight books, including this biography of Watt, his fellow Scot and champion of technological innovation. "Why shouldn't I write the life of the maker of the steam engine," Carnegie mused when the publishers proposed the project, "out of which I had made a fortune?" Recipient F.M. Wilmot managed the Carnegie Hero Fund, which Carnegie established in 1904, following a large coal mine explosion, to recognize civilians who "knowingly [risk their] own [lives] to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the life of another person." Bookplate.
Text clean. Cloth generally quite fresh with slight rubbing to extremities, loss of spine lettering. A near-fine inscribed copy.