Thomas Jefferson Papers

Ebenezer Herrick to Thomas Jefferson, 24 March 1812

From Ebenezer Herrick

West Stockbridge March 24th 1812


yours of Feby 20th has Just come to hand containing two bills of the amount of 15. Dollars with a request that I would send you one of my machines Also a Copy of an Advertisement taken from a News paper which is not Just as I have published but Sir the plan of the machine is such as to admit of any number of spindles that will best accommodate for familys use the best Recommendation I think will be to say it has done—a young woman my Neighbour has spun last season, over 1000 Runs of good woolen yarn at the rate of from 6 to 9 Runs per day she observes that she can now spin 10. runs per day on the same machine—as to [. . .] person spining at that rate without some [acqua]intance with it can not be expected as practice is the only way to be expert at any business—as to spining Cotton we have had but small opportunity to ascertain the value of it for that purpose as great numbers of Cotton Factories are in this vicinity—we find it will spin Cotton of a coarse Quality1 best however—It is great repute here—as to the method of Conveyance by Vessels from Boston to Richmond. I think will be some trouble as I live 150. miles from Boston and but about 25. miles from Hudson—a machine might be sent to New York at any time—I shall delay sending it on until I hear from you again, will then convey it as you may direct please to write me as soon as possible & accept the assurance of my Respect

Ebenezer Herrick

RC (DLC); torn at seal; at foot of text: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr”; endorsed by TJ as received 8 Apr. 1812 and so recorded in SJL.

The copy of an advertisement that TJ sent Herrick (see note to TJ to William Thornton, 14 Jan. 1812) was substantially the same as the version Herrick placed in a Massachusetts newspaper, but omitted a testimonial by Arthur Scholfield that the Domestic Spinner would “answer a very good purpose for private families” and Herrick’s description of the machine as “about six feet long, two and an half feet wide, and two feet and an half high.” Herrick also stated that one person using his invention could spin “at least one run a day, with the same labor required to spin two runs on a common wheel” (Pittsfield Sun, 9 Mar. 1811).

1Word interlined in place of “kind.”

Index Entries

  • cotton; spinning of search
  • Herrick, Ebenezer; and Domestic Spinner (spinning machine) search
  • Herrick, Ebenezer; letters from search
  • machines; spinning search
  • Scholfield, Arthur; and E. Herrick’s spinning machine search
  • spinning machines; described search
  • textiles; home manufacture of search
  • wool; spinning of search