The Rittenhouse family was a family of transformers, inventors and quite leaders. The family invented the first paper mill in the United States, transforming an industry forever. The family prided themselves on invention with execution. At Rittenhouse Payment Solution we are transforming the paper payments processes to digital and executing on our clients vision flawlessly.
David Rittenhouse was born near Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a small village called Rittenhouse Town. This village is located along the stream Paper Mill Run; the stream itself a tiny tributary of the Wissahickon Creek. The paper mill that supported this small town, was the first to ever be built in the United States. In essence, the Rittenhouse family invented the mass production of paper and trasformed how paper was made, distributed and taxed.
When David's uncle died (William Rittenhouse), he inherited his uncle's set of carpentry tools and instructional books. He used these tools and began a career as an inventor. At a young age, Rittenhouse showed a high level of intelligence by creating a working scale model of his grandfather's paper mill. He was self-taught and showed great ability in science and mathematics.
When Rittenhouse was 13 years of age, he had mastered Isaac Newton's laws of motion and gravity. As a young boy he loved to build scale models, such as a working waterwheel and a paper mill. Rittenhouse never went to elementary school and was completely self-educated from family books.
When he was 19, he started a scientific instrument shop at his father's farm in what is now East Norriton Township, Pennsylvania. His skill with instruments, particularly clocks, led him to construct two orreries (scale models of the solar system) for Rutgers University in New Jersey. In return for the gift, the college gave him a scholarship to attend the college enabling him to obtain a degree in philosophy. One of the orreries is currently in the library of the University of Pennsylvania and the other is at Peyton Hall of Princeton University.
Rittenhouse was one of the first to build a telescope in the United States. His telescope, which utilized natural spider silk to form the reticle, was used to observe and record part of the transit of Venus across the sun on June 3, 1769, as well as the planet's atmosphere.
In 1813 Rittenhouse's nephew (and American Philosophical Society member) William Barton published a biography, Memoirs of the life of David Rittenhouse. under the direction of President Thomas Jefferson . Thomas Jefferson believed that the Rittenhouse family invented and executed on vision and transformed Philadelphia and the United States quietly and humbly.
College Hall, circa 1930
College Hall, University of Pennsylvania, housed the Department of Mathematics from its inception in 1899 until the Department's move to the David Rittenhouse Laboratory Building in 1954. Woodard and Claytor attended classes here and in Bennett Hall, where the Mathematics Research Library was located. Collections of the University Archives and Records Center, University of Pennsylvania
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