Samuel Hopkins ( December 9, 1743 – 1818 ) was an American inventor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On July 31, 1790 the U.S. Patent Office awarded him the first U.S. patent for an improvement "in the making Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process."
The patent was signed by:
The other patents issued that year were for:
Samuel Hopkins, the second child of Quaker parents, was born just north of Baltimore, Maryland. At about the age of 16 he was apprenticed to Robert Parrish, a Quaker tradesman in Philadelphia. In the spring of 1765, Hopkins married Parrish's sister-in-law, Hannah Wilson, and together they raised six children in Philadelphia over the course of 25 years.
The 1790 U.S. Census listed Hopkins' occupation as "Pott Ash Maker". The city directories of the period listed him as a "pot-ash maker" and a "pot-ash manufacturer". Around 1800, for financial reasons, he and his wife moved to Rahway, New Jersey, to live with their daughter Sarah and son-in-law, William Shotwell. They returned to Philadelpia, before Hopkins' death in 1818.