William Rittenhouse is the first person recorded as having made paper in North America.
Rittenhouse, William was born in 1644 in Mulheim-am-Ruhr, Rhenish Prussia. Son of George and Maria (Hagerhoffs) Rittenhausen.
During his stay in the Netherlands he changed his name to "Willm Rittenhuysen". This name was also found on a petition for naturalization of residents of Germantown, Pennsylvania dated 7 May 1691. William was a papermaking apprentice in Germany where he worked at a mill in Broich near the city of Mülheim an der Ruhr.
Two years later he founded the first paper mill to be established in the colonies. This Rittenhouse Mill became the family business for the next century. He died in Pennsylvania in 1708.
His legacy continued to his descendant David Rittenhouse, who had the Rittenhouse name immortalized in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.