Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Walker, 7 March 1806

Shadwell March 7th. 1806


Having lately seen a machine for cleaning wheat instead of a common screen, I am confident that it is a very great improvement in the art of cleaning wheat and is little expensive to erect, with the addition of a rolling screen about eight feet long the two will not cost more if as much as a rolling screen fifteen or sixteen feet long which is as short as ought to be applied in your Mill. This Machine consists of two cilinders about four & a half feet diameter the one running within the other, the outer one is made fast & the inner one set in motion being fixt to a vertical shaft revolving about one hundred & fifty times in a minute—in order to scower off all dust as well as discharge a great quantity of dust cockle cheat & small graines of wheat these cilinders are lined with sheet Iron 1/16 of an inch thick and not less than twelve inches wide punchd. full of small holes which causes them to act as gretters, As the making S. fine flour very much depends on cleaning wheat well. I therefore recommend to you this method of effecting the operation, should you think proper to adapt the plan, you will please to precure 100 feet of sheet Iron 1/16 of an inch thick & not less than 12 inches wide, one yard of woven wire the marshes so coarse as to let all wheat through and keep back large stones & straw &c. also a screen eight feet long if the screen cannot be precured easily of that length, suitable wire will do as well as I can make the screen myself provided the wire is woven. please to let me know by next post whither or no I may pursue the plan as I wish to make arrangements for it immediately the sheet Iron that I have mentioned is 20 feet more in quantity than will be wanting for the machine but I shall be glad to take all that is left myself—the other pare of stones & Bolting cloths will not be wanting for several months to come—Mr. Higginbotham has several times wrote for the pitt coal but have not recd. it as yet however we can borrow easier than we can get Mr. Steward to work. he has done nothing to the large Mill Irons as yet. I have fixed the screw for breaking plaister and find it to answer well only that the grate is too open.

we can break & grind three or four ton a day, should we not be hindered for want of materials I expect we can commence manufactoring by the first of septr. next, I have laid out nearly all the money recd. of you as yet in precuring provisions for the present year. Must therefore request the remittance of two hundred dollars in this month as my journeymen as well as myself are in great want at this time—

I am with great respect Sir your Obt. H. Servt.

James Walker

MHi: Coolidge Collection.

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