Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin J. Campbell, 26 March 1816

To Benjamin J. Campbell

Monticello Mar. 26. 16.


I recieved the last night your favor of the 16th and hasten to acknolege it. I had before remarked in the newspapers an account of your new invented loom, which appeared to promise considerab[le] advantages. but manufacturing with me is on too small a scale to make it an object, making only coarse cloths for my family and people. two common looms with flying shuttles do this. I had at one time thought of trying one of Janes’s looms, but his patentee for this state asked double it’s price in the other states, and I percieve in fact that it has not been adopted in practice. another circumstance would have put it out of my power of being useful to you which is that I set out within 10. days on a visit to a possession 90. miles distant Southwardly, and shall not return till 6. weeks hence. under these circumstances I can only contribute my good wishes for the success of your loom [and add?] to them the assurances of my respect.

Th: Jefferson

PoC (DLC); on verso of reused address cover of Garrit Storm to TJ, 23 Feb. 1816; edge trimmed, mutilated at seal; at foot of text: “Mr Benjamin J. Campbell”; endorsed by TJ.

An account of Campbell’s new invented loom appeared in the Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 18 Mar. 1816: “A young man, whose name is Campbell, is now in this city, for the purpose of procuring a patent for a loom of the most singular construction we have yet seen. It does away the necessity of warping; and when once in operation can be kept so for any length of time, that is, a web may be wove of any desired length, as the cloth is rolled out in such a manner as it can be cut off at any time without stopping the loom. The machinery is very simple, and put in operation merely by turning a crank, and requires but a moment’s inspection to be fully understood. The warp is taken from bobbins or spools There can be no doubt but this new combination of machinery will greatly reduce the expense of fabricating cloth; and will therefore be of much use to our country.”

Walter Janes’s patentee for Virginia was Francis C. Clopper.

Index Entries

  • Campbell, Benjamin J.; letter to search
  • Campbell, Benjamin J.; loom invented by search
  • Campbell, Benjamin J.; patent sought by search
  • Clopper, Francis C.; patent agent search
  • Janes, Walter; loom of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; domestic manufacturing search
  • looms search
  • machines; loom search
  • manufacturing, household; TJ on search
  • patents; of W. Janes search
  • patents; sought by B. J. Campbell search
  • patents; TJ on patent agents search
  • Poplar Forest (TJ’s Bedford Co. estate); TJ plans visit to search
  • textiles; home manufacture of search
  • textiles; manufacturing search