April Tea Party Winners

Six Year Blog Anniversary WINNERS: Carla Gade - Pattern for Romance audiobooks go to Andrea Stephens and Megs Minutes and winner of Love's Compas is Terressa Thornton, PEGG THOMAS's signed copy of The Pony Express Romance Collection is Debra Smith, Janet Grunst's debut book goes to Kathleen Maher, Carrie Fancett Pagels' winner's choice goes to: Connie Saunders, Denise Weimer's print winner of, Angela Couch's winner's choice goes to Susan Johnson, Debra E. Marvin reader's choice of any of her novellas or a paperback of Saguaro Sunset novella -- Teri DiVincenzo and Lynne Feurstein, Jennifer Hudson Taylor's "For Love or Country" go to: Lucy Reynolds, Bree Herron and Mary Ellen Goodwin, Shannon McNear's winners are Becky Dempsey for Pioneer Christmas and Michelle Hayes for Most Eligible Bachelor, Roseanna White's winner for Love Finds You in Annapolis is Becky Smith.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Inventions and Improvements of Thomas Jefferson

by Roseanna M. White

One thing I really love about the early American era is that so many gentlemen with time on their hands went about interesting pursuits--like invention. I've previously talked about some of the inventions of Benjamin Franklin. Today I wanted to take a look at Thomas Jefferson's.


The Jefferson Polygraph



One of the most interesting of the inventions to be found at Monticello is the polygraph. In an age well before copiers or computers, Jefferson still wanted multiple copies of his letters--so came up with a way to copy them as he wrote them.


The Wheel Cipher


Though the image above is actually a Confederate era wheel cipher, Jefferson described one of his own creation in a letter. These could be used to encode correspondence, so long as both parties had one.

The Revolving Items


Looking through the page at Monticello.org featuring Jefferson's inventions, there are quite a few that utilize the idea of revolving or spiraling objects to maximize the use for a space. The first is a "turning machine" for hanging clothes--much like many of the closet-organizing items to be found today! The "hanger" was a spiral with arms coming out in all directions, over which you would drape the clothing. It seems that only a drawing of it remains, and many mentions of it in the correspondence of those who had visited Monticello.

He also invented a revolving bookstand that could hold up to five books at once, displaying them all. This would also be quite handy for anyone who is comparing various texts. The stand displayed one book on the top and one on each side, and then the reader could spin the devise to show him whichever text he needed. Certainly beats spreading them all out on a table or stacking them one on top of the other!

But Jefferson didn't stop there. He also created a revolving service door between the dining room and the passageway so that servants didn't have to physically open a door to bring the food in--always difficult when hands are full. Instead, they slid the food onto the shelves on one side of the door and spun it.

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I just love how all these early-American inventions are so very practical--and some are so very surprising. And especially how "gentlemen of leisure" put that leisure to such good use.

3 comments:

  1. Fascinating post, Roseanna! It's amazing how many later inventions were actually thought up years in advance. And some that were never made would actually be quite helpful to have today.

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  2. Very interesting. Love to read these articles.
    Blessings, Tina

    ReplyDelete
  3. Neat article. Wonderful inventions
    God bless u
    Chris

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