Jacob Perkins was an American who invented and patented many things during his life without having a formal education. Perkins was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts on July 9, 1766. He entered the workforce at the age of twelve and became the apprentice to a goldsmith named Davis. Perkins took over the business at the age of fifteen when Davis died and was able to invent a process for plating show buckles. His innovative mind landed him a job for the State of Massachusetts making dies for copper coins. On November 11, 1790 he married Hannah Greenleaf with whom he shared nine children with. He also invented a machine that would cut and head nails in one operation, the bathometer which measures the depth of water, the pleometer which measures the speed a vessel moves through the water, and improved steam engines and guns. He died in London on July 30, 1849 and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery. Overall, Perkins was able to receive twenty one American and nineteen English patents for his discoveries.
One of Perkins’ most well-known and most useful patents was for the vapor compression refrigeration cycle. This apparatus produced ice and cooled liquids. The idea originally belonged to Oliver Evans, with whom Perkins worked on the steam engine with. However Evans never followed through with making the refrigerator. Although it is mainly seen as an ether ice machine today, Perkins is credited with making the first refrigerator.