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Joseph Saxton
Joseph Saxton
  • Born 22 March 1799 - Huntingdon, PA
  • Deceased 26 October 1873 - Washington, D.C.,aged 74 years old
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rootsweb: Click Here
Linked to: Timothy Michael Dowling, 2nd cousin 5x removed
(The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume IX)
SAXTON, Joseph, inventor, was born in Huntingdon, Pa., March 22. 1799; son of James and Hannah (Ashbaugh) Saxton. He worked in his father's nail factory, learned the trade of watchmaking, made a printing press on which he printed a small newspaper, removed to Philadelphia in 1817, where he carried on the business of watch-making, and invented a machine for facilitating the making of the wheels for the works. With Isaiah Lukens he constructed an ingenious clock which gave the movements of the planets, and he also made the town clock placed in the belfry of Independence Hall, Philadelphia. About 1828 he went to London, where he became associated with the Adelaide Gallery of Practical Science, for which he constructed several mechanical toys. He there met Telford, Brunel, Whitwell, Hawkins and Faraday, through whose influence he was admitted to the meetings of the Royal institution. In June, 1833, he demonstrated before the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the workings of his magneto-electric machine, capable of decomposing water and of producing brilliant electrical sparks and steady light by bringing charcoal points near together. He also invented a pulley for measuring the velocity of vessels; an air-gun with metallic cartridge; an apparatus for obtaining an electrical spark from the magnetism of the earth; another for measuring the velocity of electricity, and several useful articles. He also perfected the medal-ruling machine, invented by Gobercht of the U.S. mint, and was awarded the Scott legacy medal of the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, in 1834, for his reflecting pyrometer. He declined the office of director of the printing machinery of the Bank of England, and on his return to the United States in 1837, he became curator of the standard weighing apparatus of the U.S. mint in Philadelphia, and superintended the construction of standard balances, weights and measures for the branch mints and assay offices of the government. He also invented an automatic machine for measuring the height of the tides; one for determining the temperature of the deep sea; an immersed hydrometer; and applied his reflecting pyrometer to the construction of measuring rods. He was awarded a gold medal at the Crystal Palace fair, London, in 1851, for a nearly precise balance. He was a member of the Franklin Institute, and of the American Philosophical society, 1837-73, and a charter member of the National Academy of Sciences, 1863, which society preserved his memoirs, written by Joseph Henry, 1877. He was married in 1850 to Mary H. Abercrombie of Philadelphia, Pa. He died in Washington, D.C., Oct. 26, 1873.
This info is from "Pioneer Period and Pioneer People of Fairfield County, Ohio" by C.M.L. Wiseman.
"Joseph and William Saxton, sons also of Elizabeth Saxton, settled at an early day in Washington City. Joseph was a fine scholar and a very brilliant mechanical genius. He was a silversmith by trade. Prof. Bache pronounced him the greatest mechanical genius the world ever saw. He was a member of the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia and of the Royal Society of London, England. He made the city clock of Philadelphia, still to be seen and heard at Independence Hall. He spent nine years in Paris and London and while there invented the first magnetic machine capable of producing a spark. He presented his machine in the presence of thousands of people in London and was honored by the presence of forty scientists.
He was received with great honor while abroad. He invented and made the machinery of the United States mint at Philadelphia. He invented the electric clock in the department of weights and measures in Washington, D.C. John Ashbaugh (John, Jr, son of John, son of JHEschbach) once visited this cousin and was very cordially received."

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                         _____|4_George Saxton 1740..1745-
|2_James Saxton 1768-1845
|                    \                                                     _____|20_James Harlan 1692-1750..1762
|                     \                           _____|10_John Harlan 1716-1790
|                      \                         /                         ¯¯¯¯¯|21_Elizabeth Heald 1694-1760
|                       ¯¯¯¯¯|5_Sarah Harlan 1748-
|                                                \
|                                                 ¯¯¯¯¯|11_Martha Ashby 1718..1725-1787
|--1_Joseph Saxton 1799-1873
|                                                                           _____|24_sosa Friedrich Alcase Eschbach 1673-1744
|                                                  _____|12_sosa Johann Heinrich Eschbach 1706-1789
|                                                 /                         ¯¯¯¯¯|25_sosa Dorothea Eschbach 1678-1750
|                       _____|6_Johannes Ashbaugh 1740-1820
|                      /                        \                          _____|26_sosa Johannes Merck 1683-
|                     /                          ¯¯¯¯¯|13_sosa Maria Elisabetha Merck 1705-1792
|                    /                                                     ¯¯¯¯¯|27_sosa Anna Barbara Roeller 1688-
|3_Hannah Ashbaugh 1772-1822
                         ¯¯¯¯¯|7_Catherine Merck ca 1746-1799