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Perkins, Jacob

Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Married Hannah Greenleaf November 11, 1790. They had seven daughters and two sons. Three daughters died in childhood.

He was apprenticed to a goldsmith 1779 to 1781. He operated his own shop as a goldsmith in Ipswich, Massachusetts 1787 to 1790. He made gold beads and silver knee and shoe buckles.

Perkins cut dies for copper coins for the state of Massachusetts 1787 to 1790. Moved to Philadelphia in 1816. He developed the use of steel engraving plates for paper money as an improvement over previously used woodcuts or copper plates. He claimed that notes printed from his plates could not be counterfeited. He began the firm of Perkins, Fairman & Heath printers in England and worked with them 1819 to 1840. Moved to Liverpool, England. He died in Regent Square, London, England.

Perkins engraved dies for some of the Washington funeral medals (Baker 165, 166) from a design proposed by Dudley A. Tyng. He produced pattern coins with proposed designs for U. S. Coinage. None of these designs were accepted.

Perkins was responsible for many inventions and held 40 patents. Some improved the minting process. He invented a machine to cut nails and put heads on them in one process. He patented a steam pressure boiler for steam vessels.

bio: ApCAB; DAB; Drake; Fielding; Hessler; NCAB 10; NYHSD (*gives DOD as 7/11/1849); Stauffer; WWWA-H

profile: AJN 27 Oct 1892 p 25-27; NUM 33 May 1920 p 188-196


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