Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence whose signing we celebrate today, was considered an expert in architecture, civil engineering, geography, mathematics, ethnology, anthropology, mechanics, and the sciences and although Jefferson never failed to acknowledge that in science he was "an amateur," Jefferson's home at Monticello was filled with examples of his scientific philosophy. An inventor and gadgeteer of great ingenuity, Jefferson's practical innovations or improvements on others inventions included: the swivel chair, the polygraph, letter press, hemp break. pedometer, mouldboard plow, sulky, folding chair, dumb-waiter, double acting doors, and a seven day clock. Throughout his life Jefferson experimented in agriculture with studies in crop rotation, soil cultivation, animal breeding, pest control, agricultural implements and improvement of seeds. Jefferson promoted science as President by recommending to Congress a coast survey to accurately chart the coast of America that later evolved into the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. The Lewis and Clark and Pike expeditions were the precursors of the United States Geological Survey and stands as one of the outstanding feats of Jefferson's administration. Jefferson's expert testimony before Congress led to the establishment of the Naval Observatory and the Hydrographic Office and Jefferson's report to Congress on a plan of coinage and weights and measures based on the decimal system was expanded into the National Bureau of Standards. As Secretary of State Jefferson laid the cornerstone of our patent system and is considered to be the father of the Patent Office but the majority of patent applications during his tenure were rejected with only 67 patents granted, among them a patent to Eli Whitney for the cotton gin. Jefferson, an inventor himself never applied for a patent, which was consistent in his belief in the natural right of all mankind to share useful improvements without restraint."
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