Monday, August 4, 2014

A glance at David Rittenhouse First Director of the US Mint

David Rittenhouse First Director of the US Mint

David Rittenhouse was treasurer of Pennsylvania from 1777 to 1789, and with these skills and the help of George Washington, he became the first director of the United States Mint. On April 2, 1792, the United States Mint opened its doors, but would not produce coins for almost four months. Rittenhouse believed that the design of the coin made the coin a piece of artwork. The first coins were made from flatware that was provided by Washington himself on the morning of July 30, 1792. The coins were hand-struck by Rittenhouse, to test the new equipment, and were given to Washington as a token of appreciation for his contributions to making the United States Mint a reality. The coin design had not been approved by Congress. Coin production on a large scale did not begin until 1793. Rittenhouse resigned from the Mint on June 30, 1795, due to poor health. In 1871 Congress approved a commemorative medal in his honor.

The US Mint produced coins every year from 1792 to the present.

Half-cent 1792–1857
Cent (Penny) 1793–present
2-cent 1864–1873
3-cent 1851–1889
Half Dime 1792–1873
Five-cent Nickel 1866–present
Dime 1792–present
20-cent 1875–1878
Quarter 1796–present
Half dollar 1794–present
Dollar coin 1794–present
Quarter Eagle ($2.50 gold coin) 1792–1929
Three-dollar piece 1854–1889 (gold coin)
Four-dollar piece 1879–1880 (gold coin)
Half Eagle 1795–1929 ($5 gold coin)
Eagle 1795–1933 ($10 gold coin)
Double Eagle 1850–1933 ($20 gold coin) 


David Rittenhouse Summary

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.


David Rittenhouse Birth and Death

Born: 8 April 1732 in Paper Mill Run, near Germantown, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: 26 June 1796 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Other Notes on David Rittenhouse

Influence on the Flag Act of 1777

One admirer and colleague of Rittenhouse, Francis Hopkinson, was on the Navy Board that wrote the Flag Act of 1777, which defined the Flag of the United States of America and explained the blue field of stars as a representation of "a new constellation." This is thought by some** to be a direct tribute to Rittenhouse. Biographer Brooke Hindle wrote, "Few admired Rittenhouse more unrestrainedly than Francis Hopkinson."

** Noted on Wikipedia as [who?][citation needed]


1783 Nova Constellatio coin
Source: A Grand Old Flag

The 1783 Nova Constellatio coin was first minted in Philadelphia.
David Rittenhouse was consulted on the design.

Title A Grand Old Flag - linked to Google Books
Authors Kevin P. Keim, Peter Keim
Edition illustrated
Publisher DK Publishing, 2007
ISBN 0756628474, 9780756628475
Length 192 pages


IMG REF [2] Main image of Rittenhouse Above
"Rittenhouse, David".Photograph. Encyclop√¶dia Britannica Online. Web. 04 Aug. 2014.

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