About

James Rumsey was born in Calvert Co Maryland, at the top of the Chesapeake Bay, in 1743,  and  his family moved to Berkeley Co. Virginia, now West Virginia,  likely about fifteen years later.  He became a millwright, a builder of water mills. After finding a book on Newtonian physics he was inspired to leave the old craftsman’s methods of trial and error and rules of thumb for the modern ones of calculation, testing and verification. Before his untimely death in 1792, he built two of the earliest steamboats, designed the first true water turbine and envisioned the entire field of power hydraulics. He was America’s first engineer.

The Rumseian Society was founded in 1788 to develop Rumsey’s inventions.  It was disbanded at his death, but  recreated in 1903 to build the Rumsey Monument in Shepherdstown, WV.  To mark the bicentennial of his steamboat demonstration on Dec. 3, 1787, the Society built a working replica of his steamboat, the Rumseian Experiment,  from 1984-87.  This is now in the Rumsey Boathouse Museum in Shepherdstown.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: