James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Shotwell & Kinder, 24 December 1813

From Shotwell & Kinder

New york 24th 12mo 1813

Respected Friend James Madison

For some Considerable time we have been impressed with an Idea that the Hair of Neat Cattle from the Tanneries might be introduced into Articles of Clothing and other useful purposes, we accordingly near two years since entered into a series of Experiments; which at length have resulted in the production of an Article which we flatter ourselves will be materially beneficial to Mankind, and more particularly to our own Country, and still more so at the present time, when similar Fabrics are so much wanted: We generally use three parts of Hair and one part common Wool, and find it can be wrought with the same facility as wool alone.1

We have taken the liberty of offering for thy Acceptance a pattern2 for an over Coat made of two parts Hair and one part common Wool, not doubting that a discovery which rescues from the Dung hill an Article of which this Country abounds, and which can now be applyed to so useful a purpose will meet thy approbation, we likewise hand thee a small sample made of three parts Hair and one part Wool, For Carpeting and some other articles we use no Wool. Very Respectfully Thy Assured Friends

Shotwell & Kinder

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1William Shotwell and Arthur Kinder received a patent for “Hair cloth” on 23 July 1813 (Edmund Burke, comp., List of Patents for Inventions and Designs, Issued by the United States, from 1790 to 1847, with the Patent Laws and Notes of Decisions of the Courts of the United States for the Same Period [Washington, 1847], 76).

2Pattern: “a quantity of material sufficient for making a garment” (OED Online description begins Oxford English Dictionary. description ends ).

Index Entries