(1799–1862) goldsmith, inventor; born in Taunton, Mass. He became a goldsmith by age 24 and he manufactured the first tableware made of an alloy known as Brittania metal (1824). While superintendent of the South Boston Iron Works, he made the first brass cannon cast in the U.S.A. (1834). He patented (1839) an important part for machinery lined with a soft, silver-white alloy, soon called Babbitt metal. Suffering from overwork and strain, he was committed to an asylum in Somerville, Mass., where he died.