Happy Birthday David Rittenhouse

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Happy birthday to Philly legend David Rittenhouse, who was born on this date in 1732 near Germantown. You know all about his park, but how much do you know about him? He was one of America’s foremost scientists of the 18th century. He was exceptionally famous and respected in his day, as you can see in this letter from Jefferson to him in 1778: I doubt not there are in your country many persons equal to the task of conducting government: but you should consider that the world has but one Ryttenhouse, and that it never had one before. The amazing mechanical representation of the solar system which you conceived and executed, has never been surpassed by any but the work of which it is a copy. He was an excellent surveyor, called upon to determine the boundaries of numerous states, created the first observatory in the United States, and was the first director of the United States Mint. He died in Philly in 1796.

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