George Washington Papers

To George Washington from William Booker, 3 July 1797

From William Booker

Richmond July 3d 1797


I have your Favour of the 26th of June. I Send you a bill of the Meterials necessary to be Procured for the building of one Machine. You Can have it Compared to see whether any part of the Scantling Can be used that was got for the Scotch Machine.1

I would with Pleasure have waited on you Immediately but my engagements are such that renders it Impossible, without breaking them.

but if it will Suit you I will be at Mount Vernon between the 20th and 27th of this Month and Should the Meterials be then ready, one machine Can be finished with the assistance of your Carpenters in 8 or ten days and the work of a black Smith three or four, days after which I have no doubt your Carpenters Can make any number you may want—I Shall Expect to hear from you if the above Mentioned time will answer.2 I am with due Respe[c]t—your mos. Obt Sert

Wm Booker


1Booker enclosed this list of needed materials:

A Bill of Scantling and plank for a Threshing machine the Drum being 4 feet long & 4 feet diameter.

1 Shaft 12 feet long 16 inches through hewed 8 square

8 Arms 19 feet long 2 by 8 inches

16 Ties or braces 14 feet long 2½ by 4 inches

1 piece 41 feet long 6 inches square

The above are for the large wheel outside of the House and are best to be of heart of pine.

3 pieces 14 feet long 8 by 5 inches

2 "  14 " d[itt]o 4 " 5 " 

2 "  14 " do    4 " 4 " 

8 "  14 " do    4 " 8 " 

80 feet half inch plank 12 feet long & 12 inches wide

60  "  ¾ inch do 12  "  do  & 12 " ditto

3 planks 12 feet long 12 inches wide & 1½ inches thick

For the Machine inside of the House and may be of pine poplar or any soft wood, and not very necessary to be seasoned.

10 pieces of hard wood, such as locust, beech, persimmon, mulberry, hickory, dogwood or oak 4½ feet long & 4½ inches square.

These are for rollers, beaters, boxes &ca and ought to [be] seasoned.

Spokes and felloes for two wheels of a common size four feet diameter also seasoned.


1 Bar Iron 7½ feet long 1¼ inches square

1  "  do 9  " do ⅞th " do

1  "   do 3  " do 1¼ " do

1  "   do 12  " do 1½ " wide by ½ inch thick

500, 6d.[,] 100, 10d.[,] & 50, 20d. Nails—

4 yds of Oznabrigs

1 leather band 7½ feet long 2½ inches wide

1  "  Do 12½ " Do 1½ " do

1  "  Do 12½ " Do 3/2 " do

1 Tarred Rope, made of best materials and cable laid 22 fathoms long, full

1 ¼ inches diameter

A few other triffles will be wanted, but they will easily be got when the machine is erecting.

2Edward Carrington forwarded from Richmond this letter from Booker under cover of his own letter to GW of this date: “I have the pleasure to enclose herewith a letter from Mr Booker who called on me today. Any communication which you may desire to make, can readily get to him, through my hands. Those Machines come much lower than the Scotch. for those which Mr Booker has built in this part of the Country he has had one hundred dollars each, abating the amount of an⟨y⟩ materials labor or provisions whi⟨ch⟩ may have been furnished. that is to say the Machine costs the net price of one hundred dollars” (DLC:GW). For GW’s dealings with Booker at this time, see GW to William Booker, 26 June 1797, n.1.

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