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George Washington & Thomas Jefferson Signed Patent for Brick Making Machine
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The federal government issued this patent to Samuel Brouwer of New York City in 1793 for his invention of a brick-making machine. It is signed by George Washington as President, Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, and Edmund Randolph as Attorney General.

Only 19 patents signed by George Washington are currently known to survive, of which only 7 are also signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State. Brouwer’s is:

- the only known patent signed by Washington and Jefferson with its original drawing;

- one of only two patents signed by Washington and Jefferson known in private hands;

- one of only ten patents issued by Washington and Jefferson under the 1793 second patent act which was heavily influenced by Jefferson and one of only two known to survive;

- the only known surviving GW-TJ signed patent for a New York inventor.

Samuel Brouwer, the inventor, was born in New York in 1762. He married Sarah Martin in 1794, and they had at least six children. Various sources list him as a carpenter, a drum-maker (barrels, not musical instruments), and a composition and fanlight (decorative windows over doors) maker, but add few details of his life.[1]

The illustrator of the brick-making machine, “J. Mackay,” is very likely John MacKay, included in New York City directories from 1790 to 1812. He is sometimes listed as a glazier as well as a painter.

The National Gallery of Art holds a 1791 portrait by Mackay of Catherine Brower. Four other portraits, Hannah Bush and John Bush, also from 1791, and John Mix and Ruth Stanley Mix, from 1788, depict prominent New York City residents.

GEORGE WASHINGTON, THOMAS JEFFERSON, EDMUND RANDOLPH. Washington as President, Jefferson as Secretary of State, Randolph as Attorney General. Partially Printed Document Signed, August 17, 1793. Patent for a Brickmaking Machine, to Samuel Brouwer. With inventor’s description, and large drawing signed by J. Mackay, Delineator.

Inventory #24982       Price: $285,000

Bricks

Brickmaking became one of the first industries in colonial America. It required only a few rudimentary tools, enough hand-made bricks to build a kiln, wood to fuel the kiln, and a good supply of clay. Fortunately, the shores of the Hudson River had immense clay beds.

Due to growing demand, inventors such as our Samuel Brouwer (b. 1762), Christopher Colles (1739-1816), Apollos Kinsley (ca. 1766-1803), and David Ridgway (1741-1794) received patents for improvements in manufacturing brick and tempering clay during Washington’s administration.

Proving that Construction was already a cutthroat business, Apollos Kinsley wrote to Secretary of State Jefferson, on November 22, 1793, reporting that the machine he had patented (six months before Brouwer) was operating well. Kinsley then complained, “I have never Seen the Machine constructed by Mr. Brower but have been Informed that some parts of it were much like mine—especially some of the improvements, which were all made before he constructed his machine…. I hope the Law will not permit him to reap the advantage of experiments which I have made at the expence of all my Property and much time.”[2]

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website lists Kinsley’s patent, but no description of his invention is known to survive, nor is Jefferson’s response recorded. However, the American patent litigation industry had already started[3]; Kinsley could have sued to dispute Brouwer’s originality—but the great detail in Brouwer’s application would have been very difficult to overturn.

In any case, on November 16, 1793, Kinsley sold a half-interest in his patent rights to James Greenleaf, who had purchased 3,000 lots, and soon purchased 3,000 more, in Washington, D.C., which was under development. Greenleaf planned to construct one of Kinsley’s machines in the new federal city, and promised to erect twenty brick houses per year for the next seven years. Greenleaf actually started building 16 houses, but completed only three before dropping out of the Washington D.C. development scene in 1795. He was bought out in 1796 by partners John Nicholson and Robert Morris; all three speculators soon ended up in debtor’s prison.

We haven’t found more on Brouwer. Kinsley received a second patent, for “tempering mortar and making bricks,” on December 20, 1794. In 1795, he moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where he supervised a brickmaking operation, but that also failed.[4] Over the next third of a century, the federal government issued sixty-five more patents related to brickmaking.

One example of the many buildings of the period built with brick was the five-story City Hotel, the first building in America specially designed as a hotel. When it went up in 1794, it stood taller than all but the spires of the city’s largest churches. Occupying the whole block from Cedar to Thames Streets on the west side of Broadway, the hotel could accommodate 160 people in its 137 rooms. Built at a cost of $100,000, including a slate roof, the City Hotel was more valuable in 1799 than any other building in the city, except the Tontine Coffee-house (1792), the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange, on Wall Street. The City Hotel catered to rich and stylish visitors and leaders of New York’s artistic, literary, and scientific circles. John Jacob Astor bought the hotel in 1828 for $121,000, and it was not replaced until 1847.[5]

Beginning of the American Patent System

In August of 1787, James Madison and Charles Pinckney recommended adding the power to issue patents to the draft U.S. Constitution. The delegates agreed unanimously. The clause appears in Article 1, Section 8, charging Congress with the promotion of “the progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

The first Patent Act, passed on April 10, 1790, gave the power to grant patents to a board consisting of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War, and the Attorney General. As Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson personally examined all applications and approved only 57 patents under the 1790 Act, in part because of his strict interpretation of the requirement for originality and practicality.

The Patent Board – made up of three quarters of the president’s cabinet – soon realized that other pressing duties left them with insufficient time for such a thorough review of patent applications. Jefferson privately lobbied to reduce the Patent Board’s responsibility, and Congress revised the system to leave claims against the novelty and validity of an invention for the courts to decide. The second Patent Act, approved on February 21, 1793, charged the Secretary of State with issuing a patent to any applicant who complied with a set of prescribed formalities, swore his invention was original, and paid a fee. It also allowed patents not just for totally new inventions, but also for any “new and useful improvement” to an existing product, a definition that remains to this day.

After the president and secretary of state signed each patent, the attorney general certified it, and the secretary of state affixed the seal of the United States to it. This system remained in effect for more than 40 years, by which time patents—many of them for inventions that were not original—were being issued at a rate of 600 per year. To stem the tide of derivative or useless inventions, in 1836 Congress returned to the practice of having applications examined before patents were issued. The requirement for the president to sign patents was removed at that time.

Ownership of Letters Patent

Signed patents were sent to and were the property of the original inventor. We assume that only the sending copy was signed, as we have never seen an example of two signed copies of the same patent. It would have been consistent for a clerk to record a copy by hand. Over the years, many of these historic items have been passed down, donated, sold, lost, or destroyed.

The Fire that Destroyed the Patent Officeand Most Early Patent Records

On December 15, 1836, at 3:00 in the morning, a messenger sleeping in the building awoke to thick smoke emanating from the basement. He quickly roused his colleagues. Outside the patent room, they encountered blocked doors, heavy smoke, and unreachable windows. They were unable to save anything. By the time the fire department arrived, it was too late; the Patent Office burned to the ground. An estimated 7,000 models, 9,000 drawings, and 230 books—as well as applications, correspondence, and patent copies—were destroyed by the blaze.

Some of the information from lost documents was recovered with the help of inventors who still held the original patents, with other information gathered from published notices. However, patents issued between 1790 and 1822 had already expired, removing any financial interest inventors would have had to cooperate. Of the estimated 10,000 patents issued before 1836, only 2,800 were ever recovered[6], and very few of those survive to this day.

Patents were signed by both the president and secretary of state. Signed patents are much scarcer than presidential land grants, ships, and other forms of presidential documents. Since four of the five presidents elected after Washington also served as secretary of state, many of these early patent documents were signed by two presidents.

Extreme Rarity of Patents co-signed by Washington and Jefferson

Only 67 patents were issued while Jefferson served as Secretary of State (57 under the Patent Act of 1790, and 10 under the Patent Act of 1793). After extensive research, we have found 5 in institutional collections, and only one other Washington and Jefferson signed patent known to survive in private hands.

Census in chronological order

Chicago History Museum. July 31, 1790, patent to Samuel Hopkins, for a method of making pot and pearl ashes (signed by Jefferson on verso only);

Ohio State University. January 29, 1791, patent to Francis Bailey of Philadelphia, for “punches for making impressions.”

Private. December 31, 1791, patent to William Pollard of Philadelphia, for a machine for spinning cotton. (The only other Washington & Jefferson signed patent known to survive in private hands).

The George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon. July 30, 1791, patent to Jonathan Dickerson of New Jersey for a method of working tide mills.

Dartmouth University. January 29, 1793, patent to Samuel Morey of New Hampshire for a new method of turning a spit.

The American Philosophical Society. March 13, 1793, patent to Jonathan Williams, Jr, of Philadelphia for moulds for claying sugar. (The only other known surviving Washington & Jefferson patent signed under the Patent Act of 1793).

The present example. August 17, 1793, patent to Samuel Brouwer of New York for a machine for the manufacture of bricks and pantiles. (One of only two GW-TJ signed patents known to survive in private hands; one of only two GW-TJ signed patents known under the 2nd patent act; the only known surviving GW-TJ signed patent for a New York inventory; the earliest known patent with a surviving patent drawing).

After Jefferson’s tenure, 89 patents were granted during the remaining three years and two months of Washington’s presidency (1794-1797). Of those, we can locate, or at least have found some prior record, of 13 bearing Edmund Randolph’s signature as Secretary of State.

Thus, of the total 156 patents signed by Washington, only approximately 20 are known to survive.

This list was compiled from printed (usually annual) sources listing issued patents.

Complete Transcript

The United States of America.

To all to whom these Letters Patent shall come:

Whereas Samuel Brouwer, a citizen of the State of New York, in the United States, hath alleged that he has invented a new and useful improvement in the manufacturing of Brick and Pantile[7] which improvement has not been known or used before this application; has made oath, that he does verily believe that he is the true inventor or discoverer of the said improvement; has paid into the Treasury of the United States, the sum of thirty dollars, delivered a receipt for the same, and presented a petition to the Secretary of State, signifying a desire of obtaining an exclusive property in the said improvement, and praying that a patent may be granted for that purpose: These are therefore to grant, according to law, to the said Samuel Brouwer his heirs, administrators or assigns, for the term of fourteen years, the full and exclusive right and liberty of making, constructing, using, and vending to others to be used the said improvement, a description whereof is given in the words of the said Samuel Brouwer himself, in the schedule hereto annexed, and is make a part of these presents.

In testimony whereof, I have caused these Letters to be made Patent, and the Seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed.

Given under my hand, at the City of Philadelphia this Seventeenth day of August in the Year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and ninety three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the Eighteenth.

                                                                        G:o Washington

                                                            By the President

                                                                        Th: Jefferson

[Certification:]

City of Philadelphia, to wit:

            I do hereby certify, That the foregoing Letters Patent, were delivered to me on the twentieth day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety three to be examined; that I have examined the same, and find them conformable to law. And I do hereby return the same to the Secretary of State, within fifteen days from the date aforesaid, to wit: On this twentieth day of August in the year aforesaid.

                                                                        Edm: Randolph

                                                                        Atty. Gl. of the U.S.

<2> [Assignment:][8]

            I the within named Samuel Brouwer, for, and in consideration of the sum of Two hundred and Fifty five Pounds to me in hand paid, do Transfer and Assign to Effingham Lawrence[9] of the City of NewYork Druggist, his Heirs, and Assigns all my Right Title and Interest in the within Patent: In witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal at NewYork this 28th Day of August, One thousand seven hundred and Ninety three.

                                                                        Samuel Brouwer

Signed, Seal’d and

deliver’d in the presence of

            Thos Walton[10]

            Edward Lawrence[11]

[Endorsement:]

Eras’d and Annul’d Octob 1st 1793 by me

                                                                        Effm Lawrence

<3>      The Schedule referred to in these Letters patent, and making part of the same, containing a Description in the words of the said Samuel Brouwer himself of a new and useful improvement in the manufacturing of Brick and Pantile- 1st The frame of the house to or in which the machine is to be fastened is made four square with two floors, the lower floor for the workmen to manage the Brick and Tile, the upper floor for the horse to turn the wheel to work the Clay. 2d The cylinder is made hollow of an equal size within a small compass of the bottom part, where it tapers off to the size of the nosles through which the Brick and Tile is formed, and said cylinder is placed in the center of the frame perpendicularly and contains the clay of which the Brick is made. 3d The nosles through which the brick is formed is made square the size for the brick, and bent near a half circle and fixed to the bottom part of the cylinder. 4th The lantern wheel and spindle made in the form of a Grist or Chocolate mill the center fixed to said spindle made in form of a potbaker’s cutters wherewith they grind their Clay only this has one cutter on every other cutter and two on the others, but theirs have all alike. These cutters are fixed to the bottom of the spindle and the screw is fixed underneath the cutters and made in the form of a vice screw only the threads are wider. this works the clay together with the cutters and forms the clay in a solid body. This spindle with cutters and screw is put into the cylinder and turned by the horse to grind the clay and form and bring out the Brick. 5th The press block and weights are made round and a hollow through the same with two arms on each side with two fifty sixes one on each. This press block is fixed round the spindle to which the cutters are fixed and is intended to press down the clay into the cylinder to the cutters. 6th The cog wheel is made in form of a Grist mill cog wheel and is placed back of the cylinder and turned by the horse to grind the Clay. 7th The gutter which the brick slide down in is made like unto a house gutter, only the house gutter is hollowed into rounding but this is square. this gutter is placed in the center of the frame under the nosle of the cylinder through which the brick are led to be taken away. 8th The sliding brick boxes are made in form of the abovementioned gutter with partitions in to the size the Brick are made. these boxes are put back of the nosle in the sliding gutter and receive the Brick as they come out of the nosle and by the pressure of the clay is brought down to the Director and from that to be brought away for drying. 9th The Director is made in same form as the sliding gutter only it has holes through to guide the knives wherewith the Brick are cut to their size, and is placed underneath the rudder to which the cutting knives are fixed. 10th The Rudder which guides the cutting knives is made in form of a ships rudder and is placed above the Director fast to the left hand side of the frame of the machine directly above the Director and is there fixed to guide the frame with the cutting knives. 11th the frame to which the cutting knives are fixed is made in shape of a straining frame for pictures and has a crossbar in the middle of it by which it is pressed down to cut the brick to their size. This frame is placed in the hollow or notch made in the Rudder to which is fixed a spring made of steel to keep up the frame after cutting the brick. 12th The cutters are made of steel in form of a spade and placed at the bottom of the frame and pressed down to cut the brick to their size. 13th The notch wheel is made in the form of the notch wheel of a saw mill and is placed at the right hand of the frame at the Bottom of the machine, to keep the press block and weight in their proper places as required. 14th The line or cord is affixed to the notch wheel and to the press block and weights in order to raise or fall the press block for putting the clay in the Cylinder and to press the clay in the cylinder in order to make the cutter and screw work the clay the faster. 15th The wheel through which the cord runs is made as a sash puley wheel and is placed at the top of the machine to make the press block and weights work up and down easy. 16. The Tile gutter is made in the same form as the within mentioned brick gutter except it has notches in to cut them to their right size with steel pins on each side of the gutter. it is placed in same

<4>

manner as the brick gutter under the nosle and cylinder. 17th The Tile box is made with a hollow in the one side the shape of one side of a pantile and works in the same manner as the brick boxes. 18th The Tile nosle thro which the Tile is formed is made hollow of the form of the pantile, is bent in shape of a half circle and placed at the bottom part of the cylinder in same manner as the nosle of the within mentioned brick nosle is fixed. N.B. The machine is intended occasionally to make brick and pantile without the press block and weights. August 16 1793

                                                                        Samuel Brouwer

Witness

Benj Bankson[12]

Jacob Blackwell[13]

<5>

A machine for manufacturing Brick and Tile. Invented by Samuel Brouwer of New York.

[Drawing Here][14]

 

Explanations of the Plate.

1 The Frame of the Machine

2 The Cylinder in which the Clay is work’d

3 The Cutters which work the Clay

4 The CogWeel which works the Cutters

5 The Press Block and Weights which force the Clay into the Cylinder.

6 The Notchweel which raises the Press-Block and Weights

7 The Ketch which supports the Weights

8 The Brick-Nozzle to the Cylinder, which forms the Brick.

9 The Gutter which contains the Sliding Brick-Boxes

10 The Sliding Brick Boxes which receive the Brick

11 The Director thro which the Brick or Tile is Cut

12 The Rudder which guides the Knives to cut the Brick or Tile of proper size

13 The Frame and Knives to cut the Brick or Tile

14 The Wheel o’er which the Cord runs to raise the Weights

15 The Cord to which the Pressblock & Weights are fasten’d

16 The Pin which secures to the Cylinder the Brick or Tile-Nozzle.

17 A Tile Box and Gutter.

18 A Tile Box

19 A Tile-Nozzle, which is put to the Cylinder to form the Tile

20 A Knife to Cut the Brick or Tile.

21 A Gutter to contain the Sliding-Tile-Boxes

22 The Sweep to which the Horse is put to work the Machine.

This Machine in its present state is prepar’d for making Brick, and it is intended to annex to the same the Nozzle’s for both Brick and Tile, and produce both at the same time; or another Machine may be plac’d back fo this, and turned by the same Wheel No 4, one producing Brick, the other Tile: or by taking off the Brick-Nozzle, and putting on the Tile-Nozzle; and shifting the Gutter which contains the Sliding Brick Boxes, and putting in its place the Gutter which contains the Sliding-Tile Boxes, this Machine is prepared for making Tile; and by adding more Nozzles to the Cylinder which is made in the model to produce two Brick at once, it may be made to produce four at once of either Brick or Tile. The Inventor has contemplated several other modes of altering, and working this Machine—a Hopper may be plac’d on one side, or on each side of the upper part of the Cylinder to contain the Clay, thro. which the Clay may be forc’d by means of a screw (turned by a Cog-wheel) into the Cylinder, instead of the Press-block & Weights: or a horizontal screw may be turn’d by a Cogwheel at the bottom of the Cylinder, into which the Clay may be forc’d by the Cutters, and the Brick or Tile produc’d horizontally:- or the Brick or Tile may be forc’d down by the Cutters perpendicularly, and cut off by the Machine at the bottom of the Cylinder &c.

 

<6>

[Certification:]

City of Philadelphia } Ss

            Personally appeared Samuel Brouwer in the annexed Draught named who on his solemn Oath deposeth that he doth verily believe that he is the true Inventor or Discoverer of the Machine within delineated and described, for which he intends to solicit a Patent.

                                                                        Samuel Brouwer

Sworn the 15th day of August / Anno Domini 1793 before me

Hilary Baker, one of the / Aldermen of Philadelphia[15]

[Docketing:]

Draft of Samuel Brower’s machine for making brick & Tile. / recd 17. Augt 1793.

The Signers

George Washington (1732-1799), born to a Westmoreland County, Virginia farmer, was a planter, surveyor and professional soldier long before becoming a statesman. By all reports tall (6’2”), muscular, and an excellent horseman, Washington fought as an officer in the French and Indian War, and was enrolled as General Braddock’s aide-de-camp at the general’s stunning defeat and death. Washington was a natural soldier. He commented that he had heard the bullets whistle and had found the sound “charming.” “My inclinations,” he once wrote, “are strongly bent to arms.” Upon leaving the service, Washington married Martha Dandridge, widow, mother (two of her four children still lived), and owner of one of Virginia’s greatest fortunes. Washington was a smart and innovative farmer, an avid socialite, and the owner of hundreds of slaves, for whom he provided freedom only after the death of his widow. Not wanting to be around so many people waiting for her demise, Martha freed them early. The highlights of Washington’s military service during the Revolution, and his administration as the first U.S. President, are familiar to most Americans. After refusing to accept a third term, he returned to farm and family, for the two and a half years of life remaining to him.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was born in Virginia and graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1762. He read law and was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1767. He served as a delegate to the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1769 to 1775. He was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence for the Continental Congress and served as Virginia’s governor from 1779 to 1781. From 1785 to 1789, he was the U.S. minister to France, and soon after he returned, President George Washington named Jefferson as the first Secretary of State, a position he held until his resignation at the end of 1793. He lost the 1796 presidential election to John Adams but became Adams’ vice-president. In 1800, voters elected him as the third President of the United States, and he served from 1801 to 1809. After retiring from public office, he founded the University of Virginia.

Edmund Randolph (1753-1813) was born into a prominent family in Williamsburg, Virginia. He graduated from the College of William and Mary. At the start of the American Revolution, his loyalist father returned to Britain, but Randolph joined the Continental Army as an aide-de-camp to General George Washington. From 1779 to 1782, he served as a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress. Maintaining his legal practice, he handled a number of legal issues for George Washington. He also trained John Marshall; when voters elected Randolph governor of Virginia in 1786, Marshall took over his law practice. Randolph was an influential Delegate to the Annapolis Convention of 1786 and the Constitutional Convention of 1787, where he introduced the Virginia Plan and was a member of the Committee on Detail charged with framing the first draft of the Constitution. President Washington appointed Randolph as the first U.S. Attorney General in September 1789, and he provided a useful neutral voice in disputes between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. When Jefferson resigned as Secretary of State at the end of 1793, Randolph succeeded him. The major diplomatic initiative of his term was the 1794 Jay’s Treaty with Britain; although Randolph had to sign it, he opposed the treaty. As a corrective, he pushed negotiations for what became Pinckney’s Treaty. Political intrigue against Randolph ended his term as Secretary of State. Hoping to neutralize Randolph’s opposition to the favorable Jay Treaty, the British government provided his opponents in Washington’s Cabinet with documents written by French Minister Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet that had been intercepted by the British Navy. The documents were innocuous, yet Federalists in the Cabinet claimed they proved that Randolph had disclosed confidential information and solicited a bribe. Washington affirmed his support for Jay’s Treaty, and with the entire cabinet gathered, demanded that Randolph explain the letters. Randolph was innocent, but his standing with Washington was permanently weakened. Randolph resigned in 1795, and returned to Virginia to practice law. In 1807, in John Marshall’s court and to Jefferson’s great chagrin, Randolph successfully defended Vice President Aaron Burr against charges of treason.

Reference

Painting by John Mackay of Catherine Brower (a close relative of our Samuel Brouwer). https://www.nga.gov/Collection/artist-info.1502.html#works


[1] In a 1794 New York City directory, Samuel Brouwer was listed as a “drum-maker and composition fan-light maker” at 74 Chatham Street (now Park Row). In 1795, he was listed as a house carpenter, and in 1796, again a “composition and fanlight maker.” From 1797 to 1800, Brouwer is listed as a carpenter, and in 1801, again as a drum-maker.

[3] A January 1792 patent granted to Benjamin Folger for the production of spermaceti candles from whale oil was overturned in court in August of the same year. B. Zorina Khan, “Property Rights and Patent Litigation in Early Nineteenth-Century America,” The Journal of Economic History 55 (March 1995): 63.

[4] Bob Arnebeck, “Tracking the Speculators” at http://bobarnebeck.com/speculators.html; Allen C. Clark, Greenleaf and Law in the Federal City (Washington, D.C.: W. F. Roberts, 1901), 124-25, 175; Newton C. Brainard, “Apollos Kinsley,” Connecticut Historical Society, Bulletin, 26 (January 1961): 12-20.

[5] K. Sandoval-Strausz, Hotel: An American History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007), 24-25; Meryle R. Evans, “Kinckerbocker Hotels and Restaurants, 1800-1850,” New-York Historical Society Quarterly 36 (1952): 382-84; James Grant Wilson, The Memorial History of the City of New-York (New York: New York History Company, 1893), 3:136, 151.

[6] Kendall S. Dood, Patent Drawings: Milestone Documents in the National Archives (Washington: National Archives and Records Administration, 1986), 2.

[7] Pantile is an S-shaped clay roof tile designed to overlap the neighboring tile.

[8] Entire Assignment stricken, per Endorsement below.

[9] Effingham Lawrence (1760-1800) was a Quaker but joined the Revolutionary army. In 1781, he established a drug store on New York’s Pearl Street. In 1794, he sold to his cousin John Lawrence and another cousin’s husband (and former British loyalist) Jacob Shieffelin (1757-1835). Effingham retired to his country estate in Flushing, N.Y.

[10] Thomas Walton was a house-carpenter in the Bowery in New York City.

[11] Edward Lawrence was a merchant in New York City.

[12] Benjamin Bankson (1746-1820) served as a clerk to Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson from 1781 to 1789. In 1789, he was a clerk in the U.S. Senate, and he and a fellow clerk made fourteen handwritten copies of the twelve proposed amendments to the Constitution (ten of which became the Bill of Rights) for distribution to the states. By 1792, he was a clerk in the War Department. The State Department employed Bankson as a full-time clerk in June 1793. Bankson had sole charge of the State Department office in Philadelphia during the yellow fever epidemic of 1793. Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Bankson, April 3, 1794.

[13] Jacob Blackwell (1755-1818) of New York was a clerk in the Office of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 1785 and in the State Department from 1789 to 1798, when he was discharged for improperly taking a $5 fee for issuing a passport. He later became a merchant in Philadelphia.

[14] The illustrator of the brick-making machine is designated as “J. Mackay” and may have been John MacKay, included in New York City directories from 1790 to 1812. He is sometimes listed as a glazier as well as a painter. The National Gallery of Art holds a portrait of Catherine Brower as a child from 1791 by Mackay. Four other portraits, Hannah Bush and John Bush, also from 1791, and John Mix and Ruth Stanley Mix, from 1788, depict prominent New York City residents.

[15] Hilary Baker (1746-1798) was born in Germany as Hilarius Becker and immigrated as a child with his family to the United States. He began his career as a hardware merchant. In 1779, he served as clerk of the Court of Quarter Sessions in Philadelphia, and as a German translator for the courts. In 1787, he was a delegate to the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention. He served as alderman for Philadelphia from 1789 to 1796, when he was elected mayor. Reelected in 1797, he died in the yellow fever outbreak of 1798.


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