Rufus Porter lived through a remarkable technological transformation. When he was born, in 1792, Americans traveled overland by foot and horse, communicated by hand-carried letters and resorted to being bled when ill. Fifteen years later Robert Fulton's paddle-wheel steamboat began transporting people up the Hudson from New York City to Albany. By the time Porter published the first issue of Scientific American magazine on Thursday, August 28, 1845, steam engines were driving the nation's burgeoning factories, mines and mills, and steam-powered railroads were transporting goods and people across land at breathtaking speeds. “Superbly splendid long cars,” Porter wrote, could carry from 60 to 80 passengers in safety, comfort and convenience “while flying at the rate of 30 or 40 miles per hour.”