From Thomas Claxton
Philada May 28th 1801
I this day purchased your copying press—it is made on an entire new construction, being worked on the same principle of common printing presses with a screw and lever—it is the first that has been purchased in this city, and on that account I had it conveyed to my friend Mr M. Carey, who made an experiment on it in my presence, and pronounced it far superior to the old kind—any number of different letters may be struck off with the same impression, which will render it very convenient—If, Sir, you wish to have a supply of paper for the use of the press, I can get some very excellent, as well as ink powder—
The three dozen drawr locks are not to be got in this city of the kind you were pleased to direct—the Stock and Pad locks I can procure—the Stock locks are of a peculiarly excellent construction—they are fixed in wooden blocks, which I think is the kind you meant—You will please to inform me, Sir, whether it is necessary for the key holes to be on both sides of the doors, the locks being only pierced on one side—
The green semi vase lamps, I believe I shall not be able to procure—indeed any colour of that article seems to be very scarse
If Mr. Ingle cannot make the half blinds within a reasonable time, I could have some of them executed here very shortly—If, Sir, you should think this measure necessary, you will please to send the exact dimentions
I have the pattern of the model in hand and wish to know, Sir, whether you will have it ciphered, and if so, what part the cipher shall be on—I have thought it would look well on the breast—it is thought it must weigh between 40 and 50 oz—
In consequence of the windows and floors requiring such monstrous large patterns of the same articles, I have been obliged to wait for the unloading of a Ship for some days, which, I flatter myself, sir, will be a sufficient apology for remaining longer than I expected when I started
Your carriage, Sir, I have learn’d, is in the hands of the painter—
I have the honor to be Sir, with the greatest respect & esteem Your most Humble Svt
P.S. I have purchased the Tea and Coffee Urns, and am sory, Sir, the Coffee urn is larger than you wished; but I flatter myself their elegance will give you great pleasure
RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 30 May and so recorded in SJL.
In 1798, TJ employed John Innes to alter and repair his own copying press. For TJ’s interest in and design of a portable copying press based on the Watt stationary press, which he had commissioned, constructed, and given to friends, see Bedini, Statesman of Science description begins Silvio A. Bedini, Thomas Jefferson: Statesman of Science, New York, 1990 description ends , 152–4; Silvio A. Bedini, Thomas Jefferson and His Copying Machines (Charlottesville, 1984), 27–30; Gazette of the United States, 26 Apr. 1798; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:977, 979, 980; Vol. 11:97; Vol. 16:323; Vol. 30:466n.
A wooden pattern of the model of a Roman askos was used by Philadelphia silversmiths Anthony Simmons and Samuel Alexander to make a silver copy of the vessel, which TJ’s family used as a chocolate pot and referred to as “the duck” because of its unique shape. The Tea and Coffee urns were also made by Simmons and Alexander (Stein, Worlds description begins Susan R. Stein, The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, New York, 1993 description ends , 328; Julian P. Boyd, “Thomas Jefferson and the Roman askos of Nimes,” Antiques, 104 [July 1973], 116–24; MB description begins James A. Bear, Jr., and Lucia C. Stanton, eds., Jefferson’s Memorandum Books: Accounts, with Legal Records and Miscellany, 1767–1826, Princeton, 1997, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Second Series description ends , 2:1046; Vol. 15:xxx–xxxii).