I missed reminding you all of Ben Franklin’s 300th birthday earlier this week, but for process control and automation, he’s a significant figure— remember the kite and the key? The other birthday, of great importance to process and manufacturing automation alike, is that of James Watt, born today in Greenock, Scotland, in 1736. Watt’s improvements to the Newcomen steam engine led directly to the industrial revolution, and every bit as directly to the modern control system. Steam engines have boilers, and it was to control boilers that modern controls were developed. All the other applications we do as process and manufacturing automation professionals are offshoots of boiler and steam engine control systems.
So, if you’re a mind to, this evening, raise one for Franklin and Watt.