<< 1800-1809
1820-1829 >>
Date Event Subjects
1810 Thomas Cooper (1759-1839) prepared potassium for the first time in the United States. He used a procedure devised in 1808 by Guy-Lussac and Thenard, involving the heating of potash with iron in a gun barrel. [0065] Chemistry
1810 George Gibbs (1776-1833), who had accumulated a substantial mineralogical collection by purchases in Europe, the most extensive such collection in the country at the time, agreed to loan some parts of it to Yale College if they would provide for its display. This arrangement with Gibbs was made by Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864). As deposited at Yale in 1811, it included 12,000 specimens. [0066] Organizations—Academic / Mineralogy and Crystallography
1810 (October 1) The Berkshire Cattle Show opened in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where Elkanah Watson (1758-1842) had put two Merino sheep on exhibit in 1807. Organized by Watson, the cattle show soon led to establishment of the Berkshire Agricultural Society, the first permanent agricultural association in the country. These efforts laid the foundation for agricultural fairs in the United States. [0067] Organizations—Fairs and Expositions / Agriculture
1810-1814 The American Medical and Philosophical Register was published, having been founded by David Hosack (1769-1835) and John W. Francis (1789-1861). [0068] Periodicals and Publishing
1810-1814 Archibald Bruce (1777-1818) founded and edited the American Mineralogical Journal in New York City. This was the earliest American journal devoted to a particular field of science (other than mathematics or medicine). Only one volume appeared. [0069] Periodicals and Publishing / Mineralogy and Crystallography
1811 Benjamin Waterhouse (1754-1846) published The Botanist (Boston), a work that had appeared serially in the Monthly Anthology and Boston Review. [0070] Botany
1811 Caspar Wistar (1761-1818) published A System of Anatomy for the Use of Students of Medicine (Philadelphia), in two volumes. It eventually had nine editions. [0071] Medicine / Anatomy
1812 Benjamin Rush (1746-1813) published Medical Inquiries and Observations Upon the Diseases of the Mind (Philadelphia). It was the earliest work on psychiatry by a native-born American. [0072] Medicine / Psychiatry
1812 The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia was formed. Gerard Troost (1776-1850) was the first president. In 1817, William Maclure (1763-1840) became president and was reelected every year until his death in 1840. In addition to his leadership, Maclure also supported the Academy financially. [0073] Organizations—Societies and Associations
1812 The New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery began publication. It was founded by John Gorham (1783-1829), James Jackson (1777-1867), and John C. Warren (1778-1856), the earliest medical journal in the Boston area. [0074] Periodicals and Publishing / Medicine
1812-1814 The Emporium of Arts and Sciences, a Philadelphia-based serial first directed by John R. Coxe (1773-1864) and in 1813 by Thomas Cooper (1759-1839), appeared during this period. It was especially directed to the application of scientific knowledge to technological interests, under Cooper stressing applied chemistry. [0075] Periodicals and Publishing
1813 Gotthilf Henry Ernest Muhlenberg (1753-1815) published Catalogus Plantarum Americae Septentrionalis, Huc Usque Cognitarum Indigenarum et Circum; or, A Catalogue of the Hitherto Known Native and Naturalized Plants of North America Arranged According to the Sexual System of Linnaeus (Lancaster, Penn.). [0076] Botany
1813 (April 19) Physician and chemist Benjamin Rush (b.1746) died at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [0077] General or Miscellaneous / Chemistry, Medicine
1814 German botanist Frederick Pursh (1774-1820) published Flora Americae Septentrionalis: Or, A Systematic Arrangement and Description of the Plants of North America (London). Written while in England after a period of work and collecting in the United States, he drew upon a number of collections and included the chief account of the specimens gathered by the Lewis and Clark expedition, a fact that irritated patriotic American botanists. The work signaled a new era in the study of American botany. [0078] Botany
1814 The Literary and Philosophical Society of Charleston, South Carolina was established. Among its primary interests was natural history and the sciences generally. Stephen Elliott (1771-1830) became first president. [0079] Organizations—Societies and Associations
1814 The New England Society for the Promotion of Natural History was established in Boston, at a December meeting at the home of Jacob Bigelow (1786-1879). (The first president was John Davis, 1761-1847.) In the next year, it became the Linnaean Society of New England and was incorporated in 1820. It went out of existence about 1822, and in 1823 Harvard University took charge of the Society's museum collections, which fell to neglect. With the formation in 1830 of the Boston Society of Natural History, the earlier Society's collections went there. [0080] Organizations—Societies and Associations / Natural History
1814 The first factory building incorporating both power cotton spinning and weaving machinery was opened by Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817) in Waltham, Massachusetts. [0081] Technology and Invention / Organizations—Industry
1814 (May 4) DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828) delivered an address on the progress of science in America. It was published the next year in the Transactions of the Literary and Philosophical Society of New York, which was founded in 1814. [0082] General or Miscellaneous
1814 (August 21) Physicist Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) (b.1753) died at Auteuil (near Paris), France. [0083] General or Miscellaneous / Physics
1815 When Gotthilf Henry Ernest Muhlenberg (b.1753) died in this year, his herbarium in excess of 5000 specimens was the largest in the country. It subsequently was procured by the American Philosophical Society. [0084] Botany
1815 The first steam-powered warship was constructed in the United States. It was conceived by Robert Fulton and called Demologos, or Fulton the First. Fulton died 24 February 1815 and the War of 1812 was over before it was completed. [0085] Technology and Invention
1815 Thomas Cooper (1759-1839) published A Practical Treatise on Dyeing and Calicoe Printing (Philadelphia). [0086] Technology and Invention / Chemistry
1816 Parker Cleaveland (1780-1858) published An Elementary Treatise on Mineralogy and Geology (Boston), the first significant textbook on mineralogy in the country. There was a second edition, in two volumes, in 1822. The work incorporated data widely solicited from American correspondents and had a theoretical grounding in European ideas. [0087] Geology / Mineralogy and Crystallography
1816 The Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences was established in Washington, D.C. It was an organization devoted to all areas of knowledge, including ambitious plans for science and related subjects. In 1818, it received a federal charter and land for a botanical garden. By the late 1820s, the Institute was no longer active and the botanical garden seems never to have been actualized. The charter expired in 1838. [0088] Organizations—Societies and Associations
1816 Thomas Say (1787-1834) published "Conchology" in the British Nicholson's Encyclopedia of Arts and Sciences (American edition, Philadelphia, 1816-1817). It was the first paper on native shells by an American author. [0089] Zoology / Conchology and Malacology
1816 (June 11) The Gas Light Company of Baltimore, using coal gas, was established, making the city the first to have such a facility for street illumination. [0090] Technology and Invention / Organizations—Industry
1816-1824 Stephen Elliott (1771-1830) issued Sketch of the Botany of South Carolina and Georgia (Charleston), in two volumes. [0091] Botany
1817 Amos Eaton (1776-1842) published Manual of Botany for the Northern States (Albany), a field guide. In 1840, there was an eighth edition. [0092] Botany
1817 The United States Military Academy at West Point underwent a reorganization that followed the example of the Ecole Polytechnique with greater stress on engineering and cognate sciences. [0093] Organizations—Academic / Engineering and Applied Science
1817 The Lyceum of Natural History of New York was founded. Samuel L. Mitchill (1764-1831) served as the first president and in 1823 the Lyceum's published Annals began. In January 1876, it became the New York Academy of Sciences. [0094] Organizations—Societies and Associations / Natural History
1817 The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia began publication of its Journal. [0095] Periodicals and Publishing / Natural History
1817-1825 The Erie Canal was constructed with state funding. Measuring 363 miles and connecting New York City with the Great Lakes, it was completed on October 26, 1825. The Canal extended from Albany to Buffalo. [0096] General or Miscellaneous / Engineering and Applied Science
1817-1828 Thomas Say (1787-1834) published American Entomology; or Descriptions of the Insects of North America (Philadelphia). The first part was issued in 1817, and volumes 1-2 were published in 1824 and volume 3 in 1828. The work included illustrations by Titian R. Peale (1799-1885) as well as by Charles Lesueur (1778-1846). The lasting value of Say's entomological work is indicated in John L. LeConte's (1825-1883) two-volume Complete Writings of Thomas Say on the Entomology of North America (New York, 1859). [0097] Zoology / Entomology
1818 Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859) published The Genera of North American Plants, and Catalogue of the Species to the Year 1817 (Philadelphia), in two volumes. In this work, the author drew upon his prior explorations in the West and produced an early overall view of American botany. [0098] Botany
1818 Amos Eaton (1776-1842) published Index to the Geology of the Northern States, with a Transverse Section from Catskill Mountain to the Atlantic (Leicester, Mass.). A second edition appeared in 1820, published at Troy, N.Y. In this work, Eaton addressed questions of stratigraphy and nomenclature for the geology of America. [0099] Geology
1818 James Freeman Dana (1793-1827) and Samuel L. Dana (1795-1868) published "Outlines of the Mineralogy and Geology of Boston and Its Vicinity, with a Geological Map," Memoirs of American Academy of Arts and Sciences 4:129-224, the first such account of that part of the country. [0100] Geology / Mineralogy and Crystallography
1818 William C. Wells (1757-1817), American born but long resident in England, published "An Account of a Female of the White Race of Mankind, Part of Whose Skin Resembles That of a Negro; With Some Observations on the Causes of the Differences in Colour and Form between the White and Negro Races of Men" as an appendix to his Two Essays: One upon Single Vision with Two Eyes; the Other on Dew... (London). In the "Account," Wells anticipated later ideas of natural selection. [0101] Zoology—Human
1818 (July) The American Journal of Science and Arts was founded by Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864). During its early years, mineralogy and geology were about one-third to one-half of the articles. The journal's circulation was about 500 to 1000 subscribers, and in 1826 Silliman had to take over full financial responsibility for the journal. [0102] Periodicals and Publishing
1818-1829 Harvard University professor John Farrar (1779-1853) translated a series of French mathematical, physical, and astronomical texts. In the process, he significantly changed the direction of the science curriculum in Harvard College and elsewhere through the introduction of French mathematics. The series came to be known as the Cambridge Mathematics and Cambridge Natural Philosophy. [0103] Organizations—Academic / Mathematics, Physical Sciences–General
1819 Robert Hare (1781-1858) invented a galvanic device, the calorimotor. [0104] Chemistry / Instruments and Instrumentation
1819 The Western Museum in Cincinnati was apparently operational by the end of this year. Among those who took part in its establishment was Daniel Drake (1785-1852), while John James Audubon (1785-1851) was recruited in the preparation of the displays. The museum was based on subscribed funds as well as contributions of natural and historical specimens of various kinds. It flourished as an institution for science only for a few years before it passed to commercial interests. [0105] Organizations—Museums
1819 The American Geological Society was sanctioned by the Connecticut state legislature and was situated in New Haven. George Gibbs (1776-1833) and Benjamin Silliman (1779-1864) had promoted the idea for the Society. At its first meeting, at Yale University on September 7, 1819, William Maclure (1763-1840) was named president, while the vice presidents were Gibbs, Silliman, Parker Cleaveland (1780-1858), Stephen Elliott (1771-1830), Robert Gilmor, Jr. (1774-1848) (Baltimore), Samuel Brown (1769-1830) (Kentucky), and Robert Hare (1781-1858). The group never flourished and its last apparent meeting was in 1828. [0106] Organizations—Societies and Associations / Geology
1819 The American Farmer began publication. It was edited by John Stuart Skinner (1788-1851) in Baltimore. [0107] Periodicals and Publishing / Agriculture
1819 The American Savannah made the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean by a steamboat. During 87 percent of the voyage, however, the ship moved under sail. [0108] Technology and Invention
1819 (April 15) Inventor Oliver Evans (b.1755) died in New York City. [0109] General or Miscellaneous / Technology and Invention
1819-1820 John Gorham's (1783-1829) The Elements of Chemical Science (Boston), in two volumes, appeared as the earliest original textbook on the subject to be authored by an American. [0110] Chemistry
1819-1820 Major Stephen H. Long (1784-1864) led an expedition to the Rocky Mountains. In addition to military personnel who carried out topographical and astronomical work, the expedition included naturalists Edwin James (1797-1861) (botany), Thomas Say (1787-1834) (zoology), and Titian R. Peale (1799-1885). James prepared the account of the expedition, which was published in 1823. The botanical results of the expedition were published by John Torrey (1796-1873), who received specimens from James. [0111] Exploration and Surveying / Natural History


Created and Maintained by Dr. Clark A. Elliott Waltham, MA
clark_elliott at verizon dot net / Content updated 16 June 2008
Technical presentation by Andrew J. Elliott.