Why History Should Remember the Name, David Rittenhouse

By | December 4, 2018

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American astronomer David Rittenhouse (circa 1775). (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

A contemporary of the Founding Fathers of the United States, David Rittenhouse was an influential astronomer, scientist, surveyor, and businessman in the early days of the country’s history. Although his contributions to the fledgling nation are often overshadowed by the deeds of people like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington, we have David Rittenhouse to thank for, among other things, the shape and boundaries of many of our states and the design of our coins. Let us look at the work of this man of many interests to know why history should remember the name, David Rittenhouse. 

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Rittenhouse was a Pennsylvanian before Pennsylvania was a State

In 1732, David Rittenhouse was born in a section of Philadelphia that was, at the time, called Rittenhousetown. Today, we know it better as Germantown. But having a neighborhood in a prominent city named for one’s family shows the importance of the family. The Rittenhouse family established the first paper mill in America. His family roots run deep in the Philadelphia area…today, there is Rittenhouse Square in the city.