David Rittenhouse: Philosopher-Mechanick of Colonial Philadelphia and His Famous Clocks brings a completely new focus on the life and works of the American astronomer, mathematician, surveyor, and inventor David Rittenhouse (1732–96). A brilliant autodidact who would become the first director of the United States Mint, Rittenhouse was a pivotal figure of the cultural scene in Colonial Philadelphia. This publication expands the body of knowledge surrounding Rittenhouse and his brother Benjamin, as well as the era in which they lived. His masterful clocks are the principal subject matter, but the book also addresses Rittenhouse’s broader works, such as orreries, telescopes, surveying compasses, and other scientific equipment. These objects are all lushly illustrated with new photography, including rarely seen pieces in private collections. Providing a more complete and accurate view of Rittenhouse’s genius, this volume highlights the breadth of his talent and importance to both science and art in early America.
Distributed for the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library