Rittenhouse & Potts

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(Benjamin Rittenhouse and W. L. Potts)


Excerpted from an article by Bruce R. Forman, "The Worcester Workshop of Benjamin Rittenhouse", published in the journal RITTENHOUSE, Vol. 2, No. 3, May 1988.

"The first of Benjamin Rittenhouse's partners about whom we have any information was William Luken Potts (1771-1854)." [6]  In 1796, when he first appears in Worcester tax records, Potts was a skilled journeyman clockmaker aged 25.  He remained with Rittenhouse for two years, during which time they produced several compasses signed "Rittenhouse & Potts." [7]  Potts later worked in New Jersey and in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  In 1800 he advertised "surveying instruments of all kinds, and Rittenhouse's Circumferentors, with each a nounes and spirit level compleat - made and sold by Wm. L. POTTS, Pitts Town, New Jersey, and by Robert Barnhill....Philadelphia." [8]  (Barnhill, a Philadelphia storekeeper, was Potts' brother-in-law.)  In 1817 Potts became an iron merchant in Philadelphia."

"Potts' vacancy at the Rittenhouse shop was quickly filled by Benjamin Evans (1776-1836), and compasses signed "Rittenhouse & Evans" were soon forthcoming."  



[6]  Thomas Maxwell Potts, The Potts Family in Great Britain and America (Canonsburg, Pa., 1901), p. 474.

[7]  Charles E. Smart, op. cit., pp. 129, 143 & 236.

[8]  Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser (Jan. 17, 1800, and later)




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