The New International Encyclopædia/Rumsey, James

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RUMSEY, rŭm'zĭ, James (1743-92). An American mechanical engineer, born in Maryland. After applying himself to the study of mechanics and machinery, he became an inventor. In 1786, twenty-one years before Fulton built the Clermont, Rumsey exhibited on the Potomac, in the presence of Washington, a boat propelled by machinery, in which a pump worked by steam power drove a stream of water from the stern, and thus furnished the motive power. This idea, which originally was proposed by Bernoulli, has since figured in many schemes for propelling vessels. A society was formed to aid his project, of which Franklin was a member. He visited and gave exhibitions in England, and obtained patents for his invention in Great Britain, Holland, and France. His death occurred while he was preparing for further experiments. He also made improvements in mill machinery, and in 1788 published a Short Treatise on the Application of Steam.