Thomas Jefferson Papers

Hezekiah Niles to Thomas Jefferson, 24 December 1816

From Hezekiah Niles

Balt. Dec 24. 1816

Hon. Sir.

Assured that it will afford you pleasure to notice any improvement in what, perhaps, may be called the household arts, I enclose a small piece of a preparation just offered for sale in our city for the purpose of clarifying coffee, as well as wines & other liquors. I have tried it for the former, And it completely answers the purpose—a piece an inch square is the quantity for a gallon, dropped into the boiler at the time of drawing it off the fire.

The inventor, as he claims himself to be, says “this menstruum may be compounded of all animal & vegitable mucilages”—but its nature will appear evident to you.

Very respectfully,

H Niles

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 5 Jan. 1817 from “Niles Th.” and so recorded in SJL; notation by TJ above endorsement: “Newspapers.”

Niles soon published a similarly positive description of Daniel Bartling’s improvement: “The mode of using this discovery, is simply to pour boiling water on its surface, and a pure and transparent mucilage is immediately produced: it instantly then expands to the dimensions of the vessel containing the liquor intended to be clarified, and will sink to the bottom carrying every mote, speck and particle in its descent” (Baltimore Niles’ Weekly Register, 4 Jan. 1817).

Index Entries

  • Bartling, Daniel; and clarification of liquids search
  • coffee; clarification of search
  • inventions; clarification of liquids search
  • Niles, Hezekiah; and clarification of liquids search
  • Niles, Hezekiah; letters from search
  • wine; clarification of search