Thomas Jefferson Papers
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James McKinney’s Description of a Hemp Brake, [ca. 28 August 1813]

James McKinney’s Description of a Hemp Brake

[ca. 28 Aug. 1813]

1st It works like a Sawmill that as it the1 same frame & Crank—The proportion is that the gate is one third the Size or hight of the frame in which it works & is Six feet in width with 5 breakers 3 below & 2 Above with the Same flare & rake as hemp brakes commonly worked by hand—To explain myself better it is nothing more or less than like a double Saw gate working up & down in the Same Manner as your Saw Mill with 2 grooves in the fender posts in Stead of one their is also a pitman exactly like a Saw Mill as thus—

Crank 7½ In Sweep
Lift of the break 13 Inches
To be drawn on a Scale of
an inch to the foot as you
will See by the inclosd drafts

MS (DLC: TJ Papers, 199:35413); in McKinney’s hand; conjecturally dated on the basis of McKinney’s promise of 23 Aug. 1813 that he would send a drawing or explanation of the hemp brake to TJ on the following Saturday, 28 Aug. 1813; endorsed by TJ: “Hemp breaker”; with unrelated notations on verso in several different hands. Enclosures not found.

1Thus in manuscript. McKinney may have intended “that has the.”

Index Entries

  • agriculture; hemp brake search
  • hemp; brake search
  • machines; hemp brake search
  • McKinney, James; and hemp brake search
  • Monticello (TJ’s estate); sawmill at search
  • sawmill; at Monticello search
  • sawmill; compared to hemp brake search