William Austin Burt

Registered Site S0570

William Austin Burt

Near this site lived William Austin Burt, inventor, legislator, surveyor and millwright. Born in Massachusetts in 1792, Burt settled in this area in 1824, after spending several years in Erie County, New York. There he had been a justice of the peace, a school inspector, and a postmaster. In Michigan he worked as a land surveyor and a millwright, building over eight mills. He was a member of the Michigan Territorial Legislature in 1826-27. He served as Mount Vernon's first postmaster (1832 - 1856), a Macomb County Circuit Judge (1833), A state legislator (1853) and a deputy U.S. surveyor (1833 - 1853). Between 1833 and 1857 he and his five sons won acclaim for their accurate work on public land surveys. In 1857 Burt moved to Detroit, where he died in 1858.
photo of William Austin Burt

Side 2

America's first patented typewriter was constructed by William Austin Burt in 1829 in a workshop located on this site. It was also here that Burt built the solar compass, patented in 1836, which was the prototype for those used today. Burt's compass became an indispensable instrument for surveying because it used the sun instead of the magnetic north as a fixed reference and was therefore unaffected by the magnetic fields of iron ore deposits. Burt also received a patent for an Equatorial Sextant. Among Burt's other accomplishments were the establishment of the northern point of the Michigan principal meridian in 1840; the discovery of the Marquette iron ore range in 1844 and the establishment of the northern portion of the Michigan - Wisconsin boundary in 1847. In 1852 he assisted in surveying the route for the Soo Canal.

Near boat ramp.
Erected 1986

Location: 4300 Main Park Rd, Stoney Creek Metropark
Washington, Macomb County

Prominent People

Latitude: 42.716093942, Longitude: -83.08828800

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