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10   Thomas Jefferson and James Madison  $500 $1183 $1302 10 You must login to place a bid.

#10 - Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

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Jefferson and Madison promote Washington’s dream of agricultural revolution

Partly-printed vellum DS, signed “Th: Jefferson” as President and “James Madison” as Secretary of State, two pages, 11.75 x 14.5, February 21, 1804. A patent issued to “Thomas Barnett, a citizen of the State of Pennsylvania in the United States, hath alleged that he has invented a new and useful improvement being a machine for threshing and cleaning grain.” Boldly signed at the conclusion by Jefferson, as well as by Madison, and countersigned by Attorney General Levi Lincoln. The second page, still attached with its original pink ribbon contains a detailed description of the patent signed by Barnett. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, one through a single letter of Madison’s signature, scattered toning and foxing, with some heavier toning and staining to Barnett’s page, as well as some scattered small holes to second page. The white wafer seal is toned, but still intact, complete with its ribbon, and Jefferson’s signature is particularly nice.

The threshing machine, used to separate grain from stalks and husks, was in 1802 a recent and revolutionary innovation in agriculture. The initial invention of the device is credited to Andrew Meikle in Scotland during the mid-1780s, but it was not until the next decade that the machine made its way to the United States—coincidentally, at the request of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, enticed by the prospect of a more efficient harvest. In 1792, Jefferson excitedly described the machine to his future secretary of state and counter-signer of this document, James Madison: 'I expect every day to receive from Mr. Pinckney the model of the Scotch threshing machine...Mr. P. writes me word that the machine from which my model is taken threshes 8. quarters (64. bushels) of oats an hour, with 4. horses and 4 men. I hope to get it in time to have one erected at Monticello to clean out the present crop.' Likewise, Washington recognized the potential of the machine, writing to Jefferson in 1796, 'If you can bring a moveable threshing machine, constructed upon simple principles to perfection, it will be among the most valuable institutions in this Country; for nothing is more wanting, and to be wished for on our farms.' While it is unclear whether Barnett's improvements on the mechanized thresher were ever broadly adopted, his attempt at innovation serves as a response to Washington's call for the machine's perfection, and it is most fitting that it was President Jefferson who issued this patent. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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