Science: A Century of Progress

"The advancement of the arts from year to year taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement must end."

So declared the U.S. Patent Commissioner, Henry L. Ellsworth, in 1844. Men were still goggle-eyed over the recent invention of Morse's telegraph, Howe's sewing machine, Goodyear's vulcanized rubber, McCormick's reaper. Many agreed with Ellsworth that science must be near the end of its rope.

Birth of a Crusader. A few months later in Manhattan an itinerant Yankee cobbler, house painter, fiddler, schoolmaster and inventor named Rufus Porter...

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