The Birthplace of Sir Benjamin Thompson, Later Count Rumford
Posted by: Shorelander
N 42° 30.469 W 071° 09.651
19T E 322469 N 4708424
Quick Description: Birthplace of Sir Benjamin Thompson in far north Woburn.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 12/6/2006 7:33:57 PM
Waymark Code: WM10WA
At the western corner of Main Street (Route 38) and Elm Street in the far northern reaches of Woburn sits a red house. The plaque outside explains its importance:
"From humble beginnings in this farmhouse young Ben Thompson became General Sir Benjamin Thompson, the Count of Rumford.
Fleeing America at the start of the Revolution, Thompson held several British government posts. By 1780 he was 'Under Secretary of State for the Colonies.' King George III knighted Thompson in 1784. In 1799 he founded the Royal Institution of Great Britain. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science. These were among many other prestigious positions.
Sir Benjamin Thompson, in the services of the Elector of Bavaria served as Prime Minister; Lord Chamberlain; Treasurer; Minister of Police; Minister of War and Commanding General of the Bavarian Army.
In 1791, recognizing his numerous acts of social reform, Sir Benjamin was created a Count (Rumford) of the Holy Roman Empire.
Count Rumford was a pioneer physicist. His experiments in light and heat did much to popularize practical applications of scientific discoveries. His accomplishments were myriad.
His 'Rumford Roaster' was the forerunner of today's kitchen stove. He developed an early 'steam stove' or radiator. His inventions included firegrates, fireplaces, thermometers, lamps, chimneys, stoves, cannons, carriage wheels and coffeepots.
So completely did the Count's innovations solve the problems of fireplace and chimney design that they endure to this day. The Count acquired fame almost equal to that of his contemporary and fellow countryman Benjamin Franklin. He has been called the greatest of American-born scientists."
While this all might seem grandiose, it is true that his achievements and contributions to science were quite great. He endowed medals of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society, as well as a professorship at Harvard University.
The house is open to visitors some afternoons - it would be best to call ahead.
Agency Responsible for Placement: Historical Commission of the City of Woburn
City/Town Name: Woburn
Relevant Web Site: [Web Link]
Agency Responsible for Placement (if not in list above): Not listed
Year Placed: Not listed
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