From Edward Ryan
Philadelphia 15 April 1793
I propose to morrow (if the weather should be favourable, if not the next fair day) to erect a furnace for the purpose of melting pot ash.
If You, Sir, could make it convenient to honour me with your company for a few minutes at any time between the hours of two and five, you would have a much better opportunity of judging concerning the principles of the furnace than by any explanation which I could give you. My manufactory is in fifth street between pine and Lombard Street. With sentiments of the highest esteem I am Sir your most obdt. Servant.
P.S. The favour of an answer is requested by the Bearer.
RC (DNA: RG 59, MLR); dateline opposite signature; above postscript: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 16 Apr. 1793 and so recorded in SJL.
Edward Ryan was a potash manufacturer at 106 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia (James Hardie, The Philadelphia Directory and Register [Philadelphia, 1793], 125). On 29 Apr. 1793 he was issued a patent for a “Furnace for pot and pearl ashes” (List of Patents description begins A List of Patents granted by the United States from April 10, 1792, to December 31, 1836, Washington, D.C., 1872 description ends , 7; Washington, Journal description begins Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Journal of the Proceedings of the President, 1793–1797, Charlottesville, 1981 description ends , 128).