Saxton, Joseph(1799–1873) inventor; born in Huntington, Pa. A banker's son, he learned the watchmaker's trade and made a clock for the belfry of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. As an official of the U.S. Mint (1837–43), he designed and built the balances used to verify standard weights. He was superintendent of weights and measures for the U.S. Coast Survey (1843–73). Among other inventions, he patented a deep-sea thermometer and an ever-pointed pencil.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.