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James Sylvanus McLean, a native of York, Pennsylvania, received a patent for an improvement in pianofortes on 27 May 1796 and wrote TJ about his ideas for using steam engines to power agricultural machinery. He apparently spent the night of 20 May 1809 at Monticello. In 1812 McLean was acquitted due to insanity in a trial for conspiracy to extort money from Stephen Girard, a wealthy merchant and philanthropist in Philadelphia. Witnesses then described McLean as educated, well read, and a talented musician, but also as a paranoiac man.
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05/27/1796-James S. McLean patents his piano forte
 Contemporaries
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James S. McLeanunknown1790
 
1819unknown

John Fitch1743, Jan 211780
 
17991798, Jul 2
 an American inventor, clockmaker, entrepreneur and engineer. He was most famous for operating the...
Thomas Paine [2]1736, Jan 291761
 
18041809, Jun 8
 an English-American political activist, philosopher, political theorist and revolutionary. One of...
Jean-Pierre Blanchard1753, Jul 41784
 
18081809, Mar 7
 a French inventor, best known as a pioneer in balloon flight. Blanchard toured Europe, demonstrat...
Charles Newbold17801790
 
1809unknown
 an American blacksmith born in 1780 in Chesterfield Township, New Jersey. On June 26, 1797, Newbo...
David Peacockunknown1800
 
 
1809unknown
 from New Jersey, was granted a patent on 1 April 1807 for an iron plow. Charles Newbold, a previo...
Pellegrino Turriunknown1800
 
 
1809unknown
 an Italian inventor, invented a mechanical typing machine, one of the first typewriters at the st...
Philip Astley1742, Jan 81759
 
18141814, Jan 27
 an English equestrian, circus owner, and inventor, regarded as being the "father of the modern ci...
Robert Fulton1765, Nov 141793
 
 
18151815, Feb 24
 an American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing a commercially successfu...
Samuel Hopkins1743, Dec 91759
 
18191818
 an American inventor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On July 31, 1790, he was granted the first ...
Peter Durandunknown1810
 
1819unknown
 a British merchant who is widely credited with receiving the first patent for the idea of preserv...
Jethro Wood1774, Mar 161810
 
18191834
 of Scipio, NY. He received two patents, one in 1814 and the other in 1819. His plow was cast iron...
Eli Whitney1765, Dec 81793
 
18251825, Jan 8
 an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin. This was one of the key inventions ...
Rene Laennec1781, Feb 171804
 
18261826, Aug 13
 a French physician. He invented the stethoscope in 1816, while working at the Hôpital Necker, an...
Sir Humphry Davy1778, Dec 171795
 
18291829, May 29
 a Cornish chemist and inventor, who is best remembered today for his discoveries of several alkal...
Pavel Schilling1786, Apr 51810
 
18371837, Jul 25
 a diplomat of Baltic German origin employed in the service of Russia in Germany, and who built a ...
Ithiel Town1784, Oct 31810
 
18431844, Jun 13
 a prominent American architect and civil engineer. One of the first generation of professional ar...
Karl Drais1785, Apr 291817
 
18451851, Dec 10
 a German inventor, who invented the Laufmaschine ("running machine"), also later called the veloc...
John Herschel1792, Mar 71816
 
18671871, May 11
 an English polymath, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, inventor, experimental photographer, and...
Charles Babbage1791, DEc 261815
 
18711871, Oct 18
 an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage is b...
Anyos Jedlik1800, Jan 111817
 
18731895, Dec 13
 a Hungarian inventor, engineer, physicist, and Benedictine priest. He was also a member of the Hu...
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