Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What do flutes have to do with the Industrial Revolution?

Thomas Lot´s 18th-century flutes

Financing is one of the most important problems inventors must face. There is a curious story about James Watt and his steam engine. Watt needed a lot of money to finance his experiments with steam engines and he decided to use a not very legal way to get money: he forged flutes. In the 18th century the best flutes were the ones made by Thomas Lot, a French flute-maker. Lot was someone similar to the Stradivari family in the production of violins and his flutes were famous in all Europe and very expensive. James Watt decided to forge Lot´s flutes. He built normal flutes and put Thomas Lot´s signature on them with a false ink pad. His forged flutes gave him money enough to go on with his experiments and create the most decisive invention of the First Industrial Revolution. Sometimes progress chooses very strange paths to come.

More about James Watt and his counterfeit: 

About Thomas Lot: 

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