Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford

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Benjamin Thompson

Birthplace: Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: August 21, 1814 (61)
Auteuil, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
Place of Burial: Auteuil, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Benjamin Thompson and Ruth Pierce
Husband of Sarah Thompson and Marie-Anne-Pierrette Paulze
Father of John Sparrow Thompson and Sarah Thompson, Countess Rumford
Half brother of Josiah Pierce, III

Occupation: Physicist and Inventor
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford

"...Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (in German: Reichsgraf von Rumford), FRS (March 26, 1753 – August 21, 1814) was an Anglo-American physicist and inventor whose challenges to established physical theory were part of the 19th century revolution in thermodynamics. He also served as a Colonel in the Loyalist forces in America during the American Revolutionary War. After the end of the war he moved to London where his administrative talents were recognized when he was appointed a junior minister in the British government, and in 1784 received a knighthood from King George III. A prolific designer, he also drew designs for warships. He later moved to Bavaria and entered government service there, being appointed Bavarian Army Minister and re-organizing the army, and, in 1791, was made a Count of the Holy Roman Empire..."

"...Thompson was born in rural Woburn, Massachusetts, on March 26, 1753; his birthplace is preserved as a museum..."

"...Thompson's prospects were dim in 1772 but in that year they changed abruptly. He met, charmed and married a rich and well-connected heiress named Sarah Rolfe, her father was minister and her late husband left her property at Concord, then called Rumford. They moved to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and through his wife's influence with the governor, was appointed a major in a New Hampshire Militia..."

"...When the American Revolution began, Thompson was a man of property and standing in New England, and was opposed to the rebels. He was active in recruiting loyalists to fight the rebels. This earned him the enmity of the popular party, and a mob attacked Thompson's house. He fled to the British lines, abandoning his wife, as it turned out, forever. Thompson was welcomed by the British, to whom he gave valuable information about the American forces, and became an advisor to both General Gage and Lord George Germain..."

"...In 1785, he moved to Bavaria where he became an aide-de-camp to the Prince-elector Karl Theodor. He spent eleven years in Bavaria, reorganizing the army and establishing workhouses for the poor..."

"...For his efforts, in 1791 Thompson was made a Count of the Holy Roman Empire, with the title of Reichsgraf von Rumford (English: Count Rumford). He took the name "Rumford" for Rumford, New Hampshire, which was an older name for the town of Concord, where he had been married, becoming "Count Rumford".

"...After 1799, he divided his time between France and England..."

"...In 1804, he married Marie-Anne Lavoisier, the widow of the great French chemist Antoine Lavoisier, his American wife having died since his emigration. They separated after a year, but Thompson settled in Paris and continued his scientific work until his death on August 21, 1814. Thompson is buried in the small cemetery of Auteuil in Paris, just across from Adrien-Marie Legendre. Upon his death, his daughter from his first marriage, Sarah Thompson, inherited his title as Countess Rumford..."

SOURCE: Wikipedia contributors, 'Benjamin Thompson', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 9 July 2011, 14:01 UTC, <> [accessed 18 August 2011]

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Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford's Timeline

March 26, 1753
Woburn, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
October 10, 1774
Concord, Merrimack, New Hampshire
Waterford, WD, Ireland
August 21, 1814
Age 61
Auteuil, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
Auteuil, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France