Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM American National Biography Online. © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in American National Biography Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

Rittenhouse, Davidlocked

(08 April 1732–26 June 1796)
  • Silvio A. Bedini


Rittenhouse, David (08 April 1732–26 June 1796), astronomer, mathematician, and maker of mathematical instruments, was born at Paper Mill Run near Germantown, Pennsylvania, the son of Matthias Rittenhouse, a farmer, and Elizabeth Williams. Naturally talented in mathematics and mechanics, Rittenhouse constructed a model of a water mill at the age of eight, a wooden clock at about the age of seventeen, and a brass clock a short time later. He was fascinated with mathematics from his early years but, with little opportunity for schooling, was largely self-taught from books on elementary arithmetic and geometry and a box of tools inherited from an uncle, David Williams, a skilled furniture maker. From a translation of Isaac Newton’s ...

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription