Porter, Rufus

Porter, Rufus

(1792–1884) inventor, editor; born in Boxford, Mass. He left home early and led an eventful, wandering life, playing the fife and violin, and painting portraits. He wandered from Maine to Virginia and back to Connecticut and invented (but did not patent) numerous devices. In New York City, he was editor of the American Mechanic (the first scientific newspaper in the U.S.A.) and he began the Scientific American (August 28, 1845). He sold the latter within six months and later wrote his scientific prophecy, Aerial Navigation… New York and California in Three Days (1849). He resumed his wanderings and little is known of the rest of his life.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.