Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Coskery to Thomas Jefferson, 6 April 1822

From John Coskery

Middle burg Frederick County Md
April 6th 1822.       

Venerated and Dear Sir,

With the greatest deference and respect I presume to approach the common Father of science and benefactor of man, with an humble solicitation that he will deign to bestow a reflection on the plan here exhibited for heating of stoves with much less fuel than at present required; this plan requiring no other alteration in the stoves in common use, either Franklin, Rittenhouse or other stoves excepting the bottom plate, and that only to have a flue cast to it with the plate, will be attended with but little additional expense: I present two plans, thus.1

The holes No 1 are to be of about 1½ inches diameter to admit cold air thro’ the floor in a tube inserted one end inserted in the hole No 1 and the air2 passing through the flue will be discharged thro’ the hole No 2. The effect seems obvious to me, but being diffident of my own Judgement, and honourd by your approbation emboldens me to hope on a condescension to give an opinion of it.

Indeed venerable Father, I feel awed in trespassing on your precious time by a letter from one of so little consequence in comparison of other correspondents, but if the plan has merit, I know you will not only excuse my intrusion but approve it. Just now a difficulty has occur’d, viz. how the sand will be got into the flue, especially of the stove where it passes along the middle of the bottom plate; this perhaps may be obviated by leaving the flue open at certain corners, which will be closed by the end and side plates when set up, or the flue may be cast separate as a groove, and riveted to the bottom plate, the only objection to this is that the rivets of wrought iron will burn out in time.

I pray your Excellency to pardon the liberty I take and give the subject some consideration. Your admiring friend

John Coskery

PS.  the mail is about closing or I would try to express myself clearer.

J. C

RC (MHi); postscript adjacent to closing; addressed: “His Excellency, Thomas Jefferson Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Middleburg, 7 Apr.; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Apr. 1822 and so recorded in SJL.

John Coskery (1766–1834), educator and inventor, lived in Baltimore in 1790 and in Frederick County, Maryland, from at least 1800 until 1830. He served as a justice of the peace by 1820 and as county coroner in 1822. In 1833 Coskery was a teacher living in Baltimore, where he is buried (DNA: RG 29, CS, Baltimore, 1790, Frederick Co., 1800–30; Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser, 6 Apr. 1820, 30 Sept. 1822, 12 Mar. 1829; Matchett’s Baltimore Director, corrected up to May 1833 [1833], 47; gravestone inscription in New Cathedral Cemetery, Baltimore).

1The text in the graphic below reads, on the right, “front of the stove No 1 Red and doted lines a flue admiting about 1½ inches diameter of air No 2,” and on the left, “No 2 Red and doted lines a flue as the other No 1 front of the stove.”

2Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • Coskery, John; and stoves search
  • Coskery, John; identified search
  • Coskery, John; letter from search
  • Franklin, Benjamin; stove of search
  • household articles; stoves search
  • Rittenhouse, David; stove of search
  • sand search
  • stoves; Franklin search
  • stoves; J. Coskery’s search
  • stoves; Rittenhouse search