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Thomas Jefferson: Scientist, Inventor, Gadgeteer 220

Posted by Soulskill
from the celebrate-the-nation-by-blowing-up-a-small-part-of-it dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, whose signing we celebrate today, was considered an expert in architecture, civil engineering, geography, mathematics, ethnology, anthropology, mechanics, and the sciences. Although Jefferson never failed to acknowledge that in science he was 'an amateur,' Jefferson's home at Monticello was filled with examples of his scientific philosophy. An inventor and gadgeteer of great ingenuity, Jefferson's practical innovations or improvements on others inventions included: the swivel chair, the polygraph, letter press, hemp break. pedometer, mouldboard plow, sulky, folding chair, dumb-waiter, double acting doors, and a seven day clock. Throughout his life Jefferson experimented in agriculture with studies in crop rotation, soil cultivation, animal breeding, pest control, agricultural implements and improvement of seeds. Jefferson promoted science as President by recommending to Congress a coast survey to accurately chart the coast of America that later evolved into the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. Jefferson's expert testimony before Congress led to the establishment of the Naval Observatory and the Hydrographic Office and Jefferson's report to Congress on a plan of coinage and weights and measures based on the decimal system was expanded into the National Bureau of Standards. Jefferson never applied for a patent, which was consistent in his belief in the natural right of all mankind to share useful improvements without restraint."
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Thomas Jefferson: Scientist, Inventor, Gadgeteer

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