Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Charles Willson Peale, 2 July 1806

Museum July 2d. 1806.

Dear Sir

The machinery to make your Inkpots moovable will be sent by tomorrows post, the only difficulty in the execution of the work, will be to find room to fasten it in the upper board, which is scarcely more than ¼ Inch thick. and as the letting said machinery in that board is absolutely necessary, in order to have room for the brass plate that hold the paper to moove back and forwards freely—therefore I shall advise that moore of the bottom board be cut away; it is ½ Inch in thickness which will allow the plate & machinery to be lowerd alittle, and if the edge of the bottom of the Gallows is rounded off the plate will slide over it & be raised to its proper place, this I have practiced in the machine I now write with. Knowing that wood screws would not have a sufficient holt to fasten the machinery sent, we have therefore sent double plates and left the screws that screw them together of more than sufficient length. I wish you to try your pens to find the proper place for fixing the Inkpots, on tryal you will find that it will be most convenient to place them considerable to the west of where they now are; in bringing the Inkpots forward, the perpendicular parallels will have most movement when the Inkpots are nearly equally placed between the Gallows.

To the front of each Inkpot bottom is a projecting piece with holes in it, to screw a piece of mahogany which may extend from outside to outside of the pots, thuse forming a better finish when the Machine is shut up. The thickness of this piece of mahogany is determined by letting the Gallows have a sufficient holt of the covers of the Inkpots, when the machine is shut up.

I have found a more convenient place for the bar which is used to keep the paper steady, than where Mr. Hawkins places it. i,e, two notches in the front of the Gallows on such part as may not press on the Machinery, When the Machine is shut up, the top will secure it.

The hinges which I have made being longer in the joints than those of your machine, because of the greater thickness of the Magogany in my Polygraphs, made them liable to be bent being acted on as a lever, therefore we have strengthened them with additional brass, that screw to the Mahogany near the joint of each hinge.

The Machine to which my workmen are putting these improvements is not yet finished, I expect it to answer a good purpose, and to have only a few blemishes such as the patching up the holes made for the former Machinery. on this subject I shall write again and then give you the costs of making the alterations with the addition of Pen arms & cases of silver.

I am with much esteem your friend

C W Peale

PS. When the place of the Inkpots is cut out of the upper board & groves for the Machinery to moove in, the Plates AA to be screwed on, serves as a support for the Ink pots & machinery.

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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