Old Technology, Modern Ideas

You’ve reached the Rumseian Society, of Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

The Society was first created in Philadelphia, in 1788, to further the inventive career of James Rumsey, and was disbanded with his death, in 1792. It was re-created in 1903 in Shepherdstown, to build the Rumsey Monument that still stands overlooking the Potomac, and was re-created again in 1984 to build the Rumseian Experiment, a replica of James Rumsey’s 1787 steamboat. The Experiment steamed for the last time in 2007, but it can still be seen in the Rumsey Boathouse Museum in Shepherdstown.

The current Society project is the building of Rumsey’s rotary steam engine. If it is successful, we hope to mount it on a boat.

Portrait of Rumsey by West, Smithsonian Museum of American Art

Alexander Botelers Sketch of Rumsey's Portrait

Label from an apple crate, circa 1930?

Rumsey's apparatus for testing water turbines

James Rumsey. Photo of the West portrait in Turner's biography: retouching has changed him considerably

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