Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Circular on Roman Cement, [before 16 April 1821]


Circular on Roman Cement

[before 16 Apr. 1821]

For keeping Cellars free from Water,

by the use of


TO keep water out of the cellars is a common use to which Roman Cement is applied; indeed there are many instances where persons have been accustomed to have four or five feet water in their kitchens and cellars, which, by the proper application of the cement, have been made as tight as a bottle. In a place of difficulty where the water forces its way from the tides or strong land springs, the floor would require to be laid with bricks edgewise set in cement, and so formed as to have the effect of an arch—by abutment against the footings of all the external walls of the building; that is to say, like an inverted coach top, and after the brick floor is laid, then the hollow might be brought straight with pieces of brick, cement, &c. and when so done should be floated over with a good coat of cement—so much as to the bottom—then as regards the sides, these to be made effectual, should have the joint of the bricks or stones raked out, and the cement then floated in the same way as for the bottom—in all cases however for such purposes not less than an inch thick, being careful that the sand to be used while it is clean, sharp River sand—much indeed depends on good sand in the use of cement.—Again it becomes very necessary for the workmen to follow by the eye, wherever the water is likely to make its way in, as for instance, at or under the door cills, or behind the door jams leading from one kitchen to another, or from any other opening in the respective walls, which happen to be below the level of where the water is likely to rise to; all these places must be carefully watched, otherwise as fast as it is stopped out at one place, it will make its way in at another.

[Note in Andrew Smith’s hand at foot of text:]

For Sale by Andw Smith—Agent for the Proprr

Broadside (MoSHi: TJC-BC); trimmed or clipped at top, with possible loss of some text; undated.

This broadside was apparently composed by the English manufacturer of this product. Smith subsequently described it as “a printed direction by the Manufacturer for mixing and using the Cement” (Smith to Arthur S. Brockenbrough, Richmond, 30 May 1821 [RC in ViU: PP]).

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