David Rittenhouse (April 8, 1732 – June 26, 1796) was a renowned American astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, scientific instrument craftsman and public official. Rittenhouse was a member of the American Philosophical Society and the first director of the United States Mint.
Rittenhouse was born near Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in a small village called RittenhouseTown. This village is located along the stream Paper Mill Run; the stream itself a tiny tributary of the Wissahickon Creek.
When his uncle died, Rittenhouse inherited his uncle's set of carpentry tools and instructional books. He used these tools and began a career as an inventor. At a young age, Rittenhouse showed a high level of intelligence by creating a working scale model of his grandfather's paper mill. He was self-taught and showed great ability in science and mathematics.