Perkins, Jacob(1766–1849) inventor; born in Newburyport, Mass. An apprentice goldsmith, he developed steel plates as a replacement for copper in the bank note engraving process, the use of which made counterfeiting more difficult. Perkins and his partner moved to England (1818) where they established the engraving factory that produced the first penny postage stamps (1840). Perkins also experimented with high-pressure steam boilers and invented an early form of water tube boiler.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.