The Lovettsville Historical Society will host a talk entitled “Making Something out of Nothing: Geniuses of the Frontier—James Rumsey and John H. Hall” at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 14 at St. James United Church of Christ off East Broad Way.

            The talk, presented by Jefferson County historian Jim Surkamp, will focus on Hall and Rumsey’s accomplishments in modernizing steam turbine and production technology that revolutionized the ways in which products across the world were made—a process later dubbed “the American factory system.”

Rumsey, a blacksmith and millwright from the late 1700s, showed how a steam engine could propel a boat along the Potomac River. A few decades later, Hall harnessed water power to mass produce single-shot, breechloading rifles and landed a federal contract to produce 1,000 of them at the Harpers Ferry Arsenal in the early 1800s. That production system was applied to sewing machines, then bicycles and cars, like Henry Ford’s assembly line.

Admission to the talk is free, but donations are welcome to defray expenses of the program and to support society activities.

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