Townsend Historical Society
Rufus Porter
May 1, 1792 - August 13, 1884
                           Founder of
                             "Scientific American Magazine"

Photograph from the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.


     Rufus Porter was a traveling folk artist and inventor who decorated walls with stenciled images  and original paintings throughout New England during  the first half of the 1800s.  His payment was often "bed and board" rather than hard cash.  So it is very possible that he laid his head down in Townsend Harbor while creating the scenes on the Reed Homestead's bedroom walls. 

     His wall paintings were less costly for home owners than expensive imported wallpaper of the time. 
     Unfortunately much of his work elsewhere in the region was destroyed when wallpaper was applied in later years. Subsequent stripping the paper removed the mural paint underneath.  The Reed Homestead murals have escaped damage, and appear as bright as they probably did in the early 1800s.

    Rufus Porterís Inventions

Aerial Locomotive

Floating Dry Dock

Air Pump

Fog Whistle

Automatic Grain Weighing Machines

Horsepower Mechanism

Blind Fastener

Horse-Propelled Twin Boat

Cam Lever Vise

Life Preserver


Prefab Movable House


Punching Machine

Cork Maker

Revolving Almanac


Revolving Rifle (Sold to Colonel Colt)

Distance Measuring Appliance

Rotary Plow

Fan Blower

Self-Adjusting Cheese Press

Fire Alarm

Steam Engine 1858

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This page last updated: January 19, 2018