Humphrey Potter and the invention of the hand gear

It has been said that we are indebted for the important invention in the steam-engine, termed hand gear, by which its valves or cocks are worked by the machine itself, to an idle boy named Humphrey Potter, who, being employed to stop and open a valve, saw that he could save himself the trouble of attending and watching it, by fixing a plug upon a part of the machine which came to the place at the proper times, in consequence of the general movement. If this anecdote be true, what does it prove? That Humphrey Potter might be very idle, but that he was, at the same time, very ingenious. It was a contrivance, not the result of accident, but of acute observation and successful experiment.