Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from John Ponsonby, 26 June 1802

From John Ponsonby

Sysonby near Petersburg June 26th: 1802


Messrs. Ackermann, Suardy & Co. of London having forwarded to me, some proofs of their Invention for making Woolen Cloth, Linen, Paper &c. Water proof, and lest you should not have recieved any account of the same thro’ any other Channel, I have taken the liberty of transmitting to you their publication together with some proofs on the subject—

With much respect Sir Yr: mo: hble: St

John Ponsonby

RC (ViW); at foot of text: “Thos. Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 30 June and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: (1) Analytical Hints Relative to the Process of Ackermann, Suardy, & Co’s. Manufactories for Waterproof Cloths, and Wearing Apparel (London, 1801). (2) Declaration by the Prince of Wales, Carlton House, 24 Apr. 1801, that the experiments presented by Ackermann, Suardy & Co. on rendering cloth “Impenetrable to Water” receive his fullest approbation and, considering the general utility of the undertaking, they “shall receive his warmest support” (MS in ViW; in a clerk’s hand, signed and sealed by Thomas Tyrwhitt).

John Ponsonby (d. 1805) also forwarded specimens of waterproof cotton and cloth (Petersburg Intelligencer, 3 Jan. 1806; TJ to Ponsonby, 14 July 1802).

ACKERMANN, SUARDY & CO., patentees of a method for rendering materials inpenetrable to water, ran a waterproof manufactory at Belgrave Place in Chelsea. As of December 1801, TJ had already received a copy of their pamphlet and had forwarded it with a specimen of waterproof paper to Thomas Mann Randolph; see Vol. 36:20–1.

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