Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from John Whitehurst, 21 May 1772

From John Whitehurst7

ALS: American Philosophical Society

Derby 21 May 1772

Dear Sir

Perceeiving you were not quite Sattisfied with the Account I gave you of the Clock I made for you,8 I have now made another with a round Dial. The hour hand of which performs one revolution in 24 hours. Concentric to that, is a hand to Shew the time of high and low water, the hours of flood and ebb. Under the foot of the hour 12, is wrote highwater, at 6 Low water, in Strong characters. I am in hopes Sir that the Simplicity of this method will please you.

If you should approve this Clock the Dial is circular and 13 Inches diameter.9

If the London Artist1 make a difficulty in Executing the Case, I will Send one along with the Clock. In the Clock now made, Ive made a provision for Seconds, therefore please to Say, whether you choose Seconds or not, as the whole is compleated, and going.

I have Sent Mr. Fitzmaurice a Wheel Barometer, and could wish it to remain unfix, till I come to Town the begining of July as could like to fix it up.2

A friend of Mine wants to dispose of an Estate in Virginia. Pray Sir by what means Must it be done? The Estate is left by will. At Your leasure I Shall esteem it favour to receive a line of information. Who am Sir Your Most Obedient Servant

John Whitehurst

Addressed: To / Benj: Franklin Esqr / Craven Street the Strand / London

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

7The Derby horologer, whom BF had known for a decade; see above, IX, 42 n, and their correspondence in recent volumes.

8We assume that this was the “other Clock” ordered by BF the previous summer, and that he had taken exception, in a letter now lost, to something in Whitehurst’s description of it above, XVIII, 194.

9BF presumably did approve, for Whitehurst sent the clock with his letter below of Aug. 4.

1Probably John Thompson, to whom Whitehurst had referred BF before: above, XVIII, 191.

2Thomas Fitzmaurice, Lord Shelburne’s younger brother, was broadening his meteorological interests, for which see above, XVII, 218–19, 247. His ordering a wheel barometer was perhaps related to Alexander Small’s “Circular Scheme” (whatever it may have been) for measuring barometric variations in widely separate localities, mentioned in BF to Bond above, Feb. 5. For a description of the wheel barometer see Charles Hutton, A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary … (2 vols., London, 1796), I, 188.

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