Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Petition of Ezekiel Hall to the Patent Board, 11 January [1791–1793]

Petition of Ezekiel Hall to the Patent Board

Boston, 11 Jan. [1791–93]. Having inherited a Boston distillery upon the death of his father Ezekiel in 1789, and with it a method invented by him in 1774 whereby “Brandy equal in quality to foreign brandy, or to brandy distilled from wine or other materials, might be produced with very great advantage, from common rum, by distillation only,” he requests a patent for the process, which they have both used successfully, and will submit a full specification and comply with any other legal requirements.

MS (Gilder Lehrman Collection: Henry Knox Papers, on deposit NNP); 3 p.; in Hall’s hand; partially dated; water stained and torn at seal; at head of text: “To The Hon[orable] [ … ] Jefferson Esqr secretary of State, the Honorable [Henry Knox Esqr] Secretary at War, and the Honorable […] [Randolph?] Esqr Attorney General of the United States.”

The presence of this petition in Henry Knox’s papers suggests that the Secretary of War refrained from presenting it to the Patent Board. Hall did not receive a patent (List of Patents description begins A List of Patents granted by the United States from April 10, 1790, to December 31, 1836, Washington, D.C., 1872 description ends ).

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