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Anderson, John August (07 August 1876–02 December 1959), physicist, was born in Rollag, Minnesota, the son of Brede Anderson and Ellen Martha Berg, farmers. Anderson received his B.S. in 1900 from Valparaiso College, Indiana, and entered Johns Hopkins University in 1904 for graduate work in physics. He received his Ph.D. in 1907, doing research in laboratory spectroscopy under Joseph Sweetman Ames. After a brief period at the Rouss Physical Laboratory of the University of Virginia, Anderson returned to Johns Hopkins in 1908 as an instructor, eventually becoming associate professor in 1911. During his time in Baltimore Anderson married Josephine Virginia Barron in 1909; they had no children....

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Bayard, James Asheton (28 July 1767–06 August 1815), attorney and politician, was born probably in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of James Asheton Bayard, a physician, and Agnes Hodge. Following his father’s and mother’s deaths in 1770 and 1774 respectively, Bayard became the ward of his uncle ...

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Bond, William Cranch (09 September 1789–29 January 1859), clockmaker and astronomer, was born in Falmouth (now Portland), Maine, the son of Cornish immigrant William Bond, a silversmith and watchmaker, and Hannah Cranch. The elder Bond began a lumber business in Falmouth in 1786. Four years later, when a ship carrying the entire season’s cuttings went down and ruined the business, Bond moved his penniless family to Boston. In 1793 he set up a watch and jewelry business on Marlboro Street, which continued until 1977 as the firm of William Bond & Son....

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Brashear, John Alfred (24 November 1840–08 April 1920), telescope maker, was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, the son of Basil Brown Brashear, a saddler, and Julia Smith, a schoolteacher. He attended the common schools of Brownsville. In 1855 he took a brief course in bookkeeping from Duff’s Mercantile College in Pittsburgh. The following year he became an apprentice mechanic at the engine works of John Snowden and Sons in Brownsville. After completing his apprenticeship, he went to work as a mechanic in Louisville, Kentucky. From 1861 to 1881 he worked as a millwright in iron mills in Pittsburgh. He married Phoebe Stewart in 1862....

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Bulova, Arde (24 October 1889–19 March 1958), businessman, was born in New York City, the son of Joseph Bulova and Bertha Eisner. His father emigrated to New York from Bohemia and in 1873 started a small jewelry manufacturing business that eventually became the Bulova Watch Company. Bulova attended school in New York and in 1905 began working as a salesman for his father’s company. The family business prospered and in 1911 was incorporated, with the father as president and the son as vice president and treasurer. The firm was reincorporated in 1923 as the Bulova Watch Company, Inc. Bulova became chairman of the board in 1930, a position he held until his death in 1958....

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Clark, Alvan (08 March 1804–19 August 1887), artist and telescope maker, was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, the son of Alvan Clark and Mary Bassett, farmers. He attended a local grammar school and worked briefly for a wagonmaker. In 1826 Clark married Maria Pease, and the couple had four children. Clark spent the next decade engraving cylinders used to print textiles, before opening a portrait studio in Boston in 1836....

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Clark, Alvan Graham (10 July 1832–09 June 1897), telescope maker, was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, the son of Alvan Clark and Maria Pease. At the age of sixteen, after a good education, Clark went to work in a machine shop. A few years later he joined his father and brother and spent the rest of his career with Alvan Clark & Sons, the productive and renowned telescope makers of Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. He and Mary Willard, whom he married in 1865, had four children....

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Crosby, Sylvester Sage (02 September 1831–18 August 1914), watchmaker and numismatist, was born in Charlestown, New Hampshire, the son of Jaazaniah Crosby, a Unitarian minister, and Holdah Robinson Sage. At the age of seventeen Crosby established a watchmaking business in Charlestown, New Hampshire. To be with other family members, he later moved to Boston, where he opened a watchmaking business. In 1855 he married Mary Elizabeth Capelle of Lexington, Massachusetts; she died in 1874, and the next year he married Mehitabel “Hittie” Ackers. Crosby had no children....

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Hamlin, William (15 October 1772–22 November 1869), engraver and maker of scientific instruments, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Samuel Hamlin, a pewterer, and Thankful Ely. When he was four years old, he was taken to Middletown, Connecticut, remaining there until he was twenty-one. At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to Samuel Canfield, a goldsmith and silversmith. Hamlin had wanted to be a painter, but his father made him follow a trade. He also took lessons in engraving from Richard Brunton. After completing his apprenticeship, he went to New York City and worked for Dudley Mann in Maiden Lane and for Peter Allison on Broadway, both silversmiths. After a few months, however, he returned to Providence to care for his ailing parents....

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Ritchey, George Willis (31 December 1864–04 November 1945), maker, designer, and prophet of large reflecting telescopes, was born in Tuppers Plains, Ohio, the son of James Ritchey, a cabinetmaker, and his wife, Eliza Gould. Ritchey made his first small telescope as a young boy. He wanted to be an astronomer but had to work to earn a living, particularly after he married Lillie Gray in 1885. Ritchey studied at the University of Cincinnati for only two years, one of them in the course in drawing and the other in the course in science. During that second year he worked as a student assistant at the Cincinnati Observatory. There he read the publications of the pioneer makers of reflecting telescopes, ...

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David Rittenhouse. Oil on canvas, 1796, by Charles Willson Peale. The Art Experience.

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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 ...

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Ross, Frank Elmore (02 April 1874–21 September 1960), astronomer and optical designer, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Daniel Webster Ross, a building contractor, and Katherine Harris. He did his undergraduate work at the University of California, starting in civil engineering but switching to astronomy and geodesy, in which he earned his B.S. in 1896. He taught at a military academy for one year and then reentered Berkeley as a graduate student and fellow in mathematics in 1897. His teacher there, ...

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Swasey, Ambrose (19 December 1846–15 June 1937), engineer and manufacturer, was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, the son of Nathaniel Swasey, a farmer, and Abigail Chesley Peavey. Swasey showed an early interest in mechanical devices, making his own mechanical toys on an improvised lathe. His only formal education came at Exeter’s Plains (grammar) school. In 1865 Swasey entered a three-year apprenticeship program at the Exeter Machine Works. It was here that he became friends with fellow apprentice and future partner Worcester Warner....

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Tagliabue, Giuseppe (10 August 1812–07 May 1878), instrument maker and inventor, was born in Como, Italy, the son of Caesar Tagliabue, a glass-blower (mother’s name unknown). His grandfather Caesar Tagliabue is said to have been one of the first to produce thermometers in quantity. His father moved to London in the early nineteenth century and produced such glass instruments as thermometers, barometers, and hydrometers used to test the strength and/or purity of a wide variety of liquids. Giuseppe Tagliabue learned the instrument trade in London, working, by varying accounts, with either his father or his brother Giovanni. He moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1829, and by 1834 he had settled in New York City. Like many young artisans of that period, Tagliabue’s early career appears erratic. He began in a single room on Water Street, and his address changed frequently over the next several decades. By 1848 he was able to purchase a four-story building at 298 Pearl Street in which he lived and worked. Married first to Mary (maiden name unknown) from England, with whom he had two children, Tagliabue later married Adelaide Arnaboldi from New York City. They had at least six children. In the late 1860s Tagliabue moved his shop to larger premises at 302 Pearl, and he moved his family into a house in suburban Mt. Vernon, New York....

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Thomas, Seth (19 August 1785–29 January 1859), clock manufacturer, was born in Wolcott, Connecticut, the son of James Thomas, an immigrant from Scotland, and Martha Barnes. Little is known of Thomas’s early life. He appears to have received a very limited education, but that was not unusual in late eighteenth-century Connecticut. He was apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner; following the apprenticeship he became a full-fledged cabinetmaker and worked for several years building houses and barns in the general vicinity of his home. It is believed that he also worked for some time on the construction of Long Wharf in New Haven. Up to the age of twenty-two, there was nothing to differentiate Thomas from any number of laborers in the region of southern New England; what changed the course of his life and career was his association with Eli Terry....