PERKINS, JACOB (1766-1849), American inventor and physicist, was born at Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1766, and was apprenticed to a goldsmith. He soon made himself known by a variety of useful mechanical inventions, and in 1818 came over to England with a plan for engraving bank-notes on steel, which ultimately proved a signal success, and was carried out by Perkins in partnership with the English engraver Heath. His chief contribution to physics lay in the experiments by which he proved the compressibility of water and measured it by a piezometer of his own invention (see Phil. Trans. ,1820, 1826). He retired in 1834, and died in London on the 30th of July 1849.
His second son, ANGIER MARCH PERKINS (1799?-1881), also born at Newburyport, went to England in 1827, and was the author of a system of warming buildings by means of highpressure steam. His grandson, LOFTUS PERKINS (1834-1891), most of whose life was spent in England, experimented with the application to steam engines of steam at very high pressures, constructing in 1880 a yacht, the " Anthracite," whose engines worked with a pressure of 500 Ib to the sq. in.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)