Scientific American, the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S., turns 166 years old on August 28, thanks in part to a New England man who decided to use the latest communications technology available in 1845, the printing press, to tell readers about more of the latest, and sometimes weirdest (or so it looks now), technology available—patents, inventions and other "curious works" in the fields of mechanics, chemistry, manufacturing, architecture and other arts and trades. Rufus Porter, a prolific inventor and painter, also dedicated what was then simply a four-page broadsheet to apprising farmers of agricultural implements.

I was delighted earlier this month to hear from Adriene Katz, a museum studies scholar and intern at the Rufus Porter Museum in Maine, when she offered to make an interactive timeline illustrating the highlights of Porter's life. We offer this to you below as a way to learn more about the origins of Scientific American:

Another way to celebrate SA's 166th birthday: subscribe to our digital edition at the original 1845 price for Scientific American—$2 for a one-year subscription, available at this link:

Also, here's a slide show of some engaging archival pages from the magazine, created for our anniversary last year: A Visual History of Science, from the Pages of Scientific American.