Peter Cooper was born in New York City in 1791. He lived to be ninety-two years old, passing out in 1883.He was, successively, laborer, clerk, mechanic, inventor, manufacturer, financier, teacher, philanthropist and philosopher.
He was proud of his business. He made the first isinglass manufactured in America, and for some years monopolized the trade.
But one business was not enough for Peter Cooper. Attached to the glue-factory was a machine-shop which was the scene of many inventions.
Here in Eighteen Hundred and Twenty-seven and Eighteen Hundred and Twenty-eight, Peter Cooper worked out and made a steam-engine, which he felt sure was an improvement on the one that Watt had made in England.
Peter Cooper's particular device was a plan to do away with the crank, and transform the rectilinear motion of the piston into rotary motion. He figured it out that this would save two-fifths of the steam, and so stated in his application for a patent, a copy of which is before the writer.
The Patent Office then was looked after by the President in person. Peter Cooper's patent was signed by John Quincy Adams, President, Henry Clay, Secretary of State, and William Wirt, Attorney General. The patent was good for fou