Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Tin Jimmy : James Watt's Robot

James Watt's workshop from SCRAN
The following was excised from the notebooks of James Watt on grounds of National Security.

I could think of nothing but that machine.

By day I was working on more plans and sketches for Dalmarnock, but each evening was spent imagining this marvellous steam powered man.

As our world moved further and further towards full automation, I envisaged a future where even the greatest of our weaknesses - war - could become automatic, both creating new industry and saving lives. My automaton soldier would take the place of flesh and bone, never wearying, always obeying. Stronger, more determined and relentless - a metal man.

I busied myself with the plans, taking care to have the parts created in several different foundries, fearing some would think me mad for such an endeavor. I had no wish to play God, only to serve man.

I began to see the other applications; if successful in war, perhaps the automatons could be put to work in mines or in the more hazardous factory professions. I was creating us a workforce, which would leave mankind more time to indulge in the pursuit of science and social reform, surely the only ways forward for our society.

By the winter of 1811, he was built, already capable of several movements, determined by the notations upon a cylinder, much like a barrel organ. Differing actions could be achieved using different cylinders. I quickly realised however, that powering my metal man was t be more challenging than I thought. The energy consumption was intensive, even allowing for reuse of water through steam condensing. Either I would have to make more space to store water, or accept that the automaton would only be able to work in short bursts, requiring assistance to continue. I feel sure I would have achieved this, for the basic principles were all in place, and the most challenging problems - the movements of joints etc, had been all but solved. This is when I was visited by the gentleman from the government. I had dealt with his sort once before, during the unfortunate business with the Saint Nazairre experiments.  Having somehow heard about my experiments with the steam powered soldier, they were interested in deploying my automaton in the Russian and French campaigns. This was not presented to me as a matter open to discussion. My metal man was taken.

I heard but brief reports of his exploits, enough to know he survived destruction on the peninsula. Despite several requests for his return, he remained with the military, and my missives to parliament, went unanswered. I tired of trying and moved on to further works.

I do not think of him often, he was simply another experiment, a tool. However, if maintained correctly, I see absolutely no reason that my automatic man will not outlive us all.

Tin Jimmy

Megan has a secret, a big secret that only her recently exploded Grandmother knows. To uncover the truth behind her secret, she and her best friend Cam must follow an old town map down forgotten roads and disappeared places, through abandoned bomb shelters and railway tunnels, to graveyards and secret passages beneath the river. And all the while, the sinister men from the Waterworx company are watching, with their strangely menacing Public Art sculptures...

Tin Jimmy is a character in a childrens book I'm re/writing called The Superpower Project. It's unashamedly based in Inverclyde, using a backdrop of the sorts of folklore and legends of the area that appear on here, and featuring characters that appear in Identity : The Archivist's Treasure, our childrens book Wee Nasties, the Tales of the Oak comic and at The Dutch Gable House.

I've been sharing bits of it on my Stramashed blog over the last few months.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

This is kind of how I imagine he looks...

The Big Duluth on deviant art

Here are a few related stories from this blog...

Captain Nemo : Propulsion

The Cabin Boy

And here's a wee unrelated steampunk love poem from my other blog. Awwww.

The Steampunk community, as you would imagine, do like a bit of the old James Watt...

James Watt, perhaps outraged that in future he will be dishonoured by the
very rude renaming of his college, creates a giant robot to destroy us all.
(by Andy Lee, as seen in our Tales of the Oak comic)

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