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Made possible with the generous, community-minded support of American Public University System (apus.edu). Any sentiments or perspectives, even if commendable, represented in these fact-based accounts of past human experience do not in any way reflect the modern-day, 21st century policies of the University.

NOTE: 1 asterisk (*) denotes research source; 2 asterisks (**) denotes text of script; 3 asterisks (***) denotes music and FX used the corresponding video

VIDEO: James Rumsey – "Most Original" – (part 1) by Jim Surkamp
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldRcnQqEYH0

POST: James Rumsey- "The Most Original" – (1) by Jim Surkamp
civilwarscholars.com/2019/05/__trashed

BEGINS (1-4 replaced)

***

River 3 by Cam Millar over images 1-4

1. Rumsey tube boiler
2. His principal merit is in the improvement
of the boiler, and, instead of the complicated
machinery of oars and paddles proposed by others,
the substitution of so simple a thing as the
reaction of a stream of water on his vessel.

He is building a sea-vessel at this time in
England and she will be ready for an experiment
in May. He has suggested a great number of
mechanical improvements in a variety of
branches; and upon the whole is the most
original and the greatest mechanical genius
I have ever seen.
– Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Willard 24 March 1789

3. (I) have been an eye witness to an actual experiment
in running water of some rapidity; & do give it as
my opinion (altho’ I had little faith before) that
he has discovered the art of propelling Boats,
by mechanism & small manual assistance, against
rapid currents: that the discovery is of vast importance.
– George Washington 7 September 1784

4. Prof. Edwin T. Layton Jr. of the University of Minnesota, and past president of the Society for the History of Technology, wrote that

(I) have been an eye witness to an actual experiment
Rumsey’s "greatest significance for technology was
not in any of his 20 to 30 inventions but in his
efforts to change the very nature of invention itself
by shifting invention from a haphazard foundation
in craft knowledge to a more secure scientific base."
– Prof. Edwin Layton -"James Rumsey Pioneer
Technologist." West Virginia History (1989)

***

Nick Blanton (hammered dulcimer), Shana Aisenberg (shanasongs.com) (guitar), Ralph Gordon (cello) over images 5-10

5. George Washington and James Rumsey’s fateful encounter in September, 1784 led ultimately to the Constitutional Convention and Nationhood

6. The struck match of a powerful book of science engulfed Rumsey’s fertile imagination and a modern scientist was born.

7. James Rumsey left to the world, twenty patents in London that gave to the world everything from nuclear power lants to the jet ski.

8. Introducing Part 3 of A People’s History of Jefferson County – James Rumsey- "the most original and greatest mechanical genius."

9. Potomac River near Harper’s Ferry
– www.google.com/maps/@39.3275846,-77.7316873,220m/data=!3m… (Steamboat drawing by Larry Dreschler).

10. James Rumsey ca. 1790 Attributed to George William West Born: St. Andrew’s Parish, Maryland 1770 Died: 1795 oil on wood 4 7/8 x 4 1/8 in. (12.4 x 10.5 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Eugene A. Rumsey and Brothers 1957.11.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum 3rd Floor, Luce Foundation Center uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 2 March 2009, 17:03 by Pohick2
– commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Rumsey-1957.11.2.jpg

**

As brilliant as he is unknown, this James Rumsey – the most original James Rumsey – Crazy Rumsey to those who didn’t appreciate this inventor’s wondrous mind. And why is it we know so little about a man who has given us so much? Why did Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and George Washington almost gush about this self-taught frontier blacksmith with a mind like a diamond in the sun. (Cheryl Royce narrates)

***

Nick Blantion speaking and background track of his hammered dulcimer over images 11-16

11. – (Seven Bends of the Shenandoah River by William Winston Valentine – Virginia Historical Society, Lora Robins Collection of Virginia Art).

12. – www.colonialwilliamsburg.org/#images/farming2.jpg13. – (A reproduction harrow that was built using an 18th century drawing and description. – www.colonialwilliamsburg.org/#images/farming2.jpg14. – (Apprentice cooper Bonnie Roane and intern Harry Taylor III work in the new cooper shop in the George Wythe Lumber House, Williamsburg, Va. – www.colonialwilliamsburg.org/#images/farming2.jpg

15. – (Little House Book 3 chapter 10 p. by Laura Wilder by Garth Williams – fineart.ha.com/itm/mainstream-illustration/garth-williams…

**
With the very few tools they brought into the country, they certainly performed wonders. Their plows, harrows with wooden teeth and sleds, in many instances, were well-made. Their cooperware, which comprehended everything from milk and water was generally pretty well executed. Many of their puncheon floors were very neat, their joints close and their tops even and smooth. Those who cannot execute the mechanic arts were, under necessity, of giving labor or barter, to their neighbors in exchange for the use of them.

16.
– (The Moravian settlement at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – 1757 – spiritualpilgrim.net/04_America_The-Covenant-Nation/02_Th…

**
Frontier life demanded a certain genius.

17. – (Jim Surkamp August 5, 2019 – by Jim Surkamp).

17a. James Rumsey ca. 1790 Attributed to George William West Born: St. Andrew’s Parish, Maryland 1770 Died: 1795 oil on wood 4 7/8 x 4 1/8 in. (12.4 x 10.5 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Eugene A. Rumsey and Brothers 1957.11.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum 3rd Floor, Luce Foundation Center uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 2 March 2009, 17:03 by Pohick2
– commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Rumsey-1957.11.2.jpg

**
That genius coursed through the mind and veins of Shepherdstown’s one-time blacksmith – James Rumsey who invented something like a propeller, and his tube boiler that was not only the progenitor of the steamboat but the true beginning of modern steam technology.

18. Edwin T. Layton
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edwin_T._Layton.jpg

**

Prof. Edwin T. Layton Jr. of the University of Minnesota, and past president of the Society for the History of Technology, wrote that 3:14 (NO CC) Rumsey’s "greatest significance for technology was not in any of his 20 to 30 inventions but in his efforts to change the very nature of invention itself by shifting invention from a haphazard foundation in craft knowledge to a more secure scientific base."

*
Sources

– blacksmith – Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers by Numerous contributors, edited by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert, Publisher: André le Breton, Michel-Antoine David, Laurent Durand and Antoine-Claude Briasson Publication date: 1751–1766 – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encyclop%C3%A9die

– (A course of experimental philosophy by John Theophilus Desaguliers. Publication date 1734-1744 Digitizing sponsor Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC) Contributor Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC), United States Patent and Trademark Office archive.org/details/0027ACOU/page/n6/mode/2up.

19. Dan Tokar

**
I first became intrigued with James Rumsey when Dan Tokar, our iron metal artisan and It was like a sort of a laboratory for his third eye.

***

Neptune Mystic by Gustav Holst from "The Planets" over images 20-23

**
He made them go backwards. He made them go forwards. He added things. He made a widget like this and a gadget like that.

20. & 22. – Drawings for illustrations representing ideas in Rumsey’s mind pp. 428-438
archive.org/details/0027ACOU/page/n455/mode/2up

from A course of experimental philosophy by John Theophilus Desaguliers. Publication date 1734-1744 Digitizing sponsor Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC) Contributor Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC), United States Patent and Trademark Office archive.org/details/0027ACOU/page/n456/mode/2up

23. – (Harper’s New Monthly Magazine Vol. 19, June, 1859. article and illustrations by David Hunter Strother. babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.hnybh5&view=1up&am…

**
And it wasn’t long before the residents of little old Shepherdstown began calling him "Crazy Rumsey." And why was this so?

***

Shana Aisenberg guitar over images 23a-23b – from video (4:07-4:37)

**
Rumsey loved waterwheels. He would spend hours studying the water wheels of his mills, noting the lost power of the water poorly aimed at the turning wheels vanes. The dancing water told Rumsey that a steady pressure of water, well-aimed at the wheel gave extraordinary dividends; and, as with water – so with steam.

24. Diagram of overshot waterwheel showing headrace, tailrace, water, and spillage. Date: 26 April 2017. Source: Own work. Author: Malcolm.boura
– en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_wheel

***

Dawn to Dust by Cam Millar (cammillar.com) over images 25-29

25. – POW – Title page A course of experimental philosophy by John Theophilus Desaguliers. Publication date 1734-1744 Topics Physics Early works to 1800. Contributor Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC), United States Patent and Trademark Office – archive.org/details/0027ACOU/page/n23/mode/2up.

26. – (A course of experimental philosophy by John Theophilus Desaguliers. Publication date 1734-1744 Topics Physics Early works to 1800. Contributor Scientific and Technical Information Center (STIC), United States Patent and Trademark Office – archive.org/details/0027ACOU/page/n453/mode/2up

**
We all know that books are revolutionary and dangerous. Explosions come off the pages of books. Explosions of the mind? One day a book landed in Rumsey’s hands. (This man who was a banger and clanger) Theophilus Desaguliers was the author of this incendiary volume that changed Rumsey into the man that Edwin Layton described.

27. – (James Rumsey ca. 1790 Attributed to George William West Born: St. Andrew’s Parish, Maryland 1770 Died: 1795 oil on wood 4 7/8 x 4 1/8 in. (12.4 x 10.5 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Eugene A. Rumsey and Brothers 1957.11.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center –
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Rumsey-1957.11.2.jpg

(John Theolphilus Desaguliers The Library and Museum of Freemasonry –
artuk.org/discover/artworks/reverend-john-theophilus-desa…

28. – (Isaac Newton Barrington Bramley (b.1950) After Godfrey Kneller (1646–1723) Description: English: Portrait of Isaac Newton (1642-1727).This a copy of a painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller (1689). Date: 1992 Collection: Institute for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge –
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GodfreyKneller-IsaacNewto…

(A course of experimental philosophy ; being an introduction to the true philosophy of Sir Isaac Newton. Containing, mechanics, hydrostatics, pneumatics, optics, and astronomy, to which is added, the use of the globes, done in an easy and familiar manner for the use of young gentlemen by Gibson, Robert Publication date 1755. –

archive.org/details/b30508332/page/28/mode/2up?q=A+course…

28a. James Rumsey ca. 1790 Attributed to George William West Born: St. Andrew’s Parish, Maryland 1770 Died: 1795 oil on wood 4 7/8 x 4 1/8 in. (12.4 x 10.5 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Eugene A. Rumsey and Brothers 1957.11.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center –
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Rumsey-1957.11.2.jpg

**
The book showed Rumsey to experiment not with things, but with ideas. So there was Newton’s dictum – "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction," and for a man who spent most of his days studying grist mills and asking "how to get the most power out of moving water- that dictum meant something. It became the jet propulsion that drove one of the world’s first steam-driven, jet-propelled steamboat or at the least the world’s first jet ski.

29. drawing by Larry Dreschler; a jet ski –
www.divebarbadosblue.com/product/jet-ski/

***

tavern jollity FX over images 30-32
& The Coors-Toss The Feathers (1:33-1:50) over images 32-33 – Tridip Mandal
www.youtube.com/watch?v=a41IPN7sKNk

30. Berkeley Springs, Va. – (Jim Surkamp).

31. The Liberty Pole and Flag – (Jim Surkamp)

***

Nick Blanton on hammered dulcimer over image 32

32. – Interior of Waggon and Horses by Percival Skelton. Smiles, Samuel. (1865). "Lives of Boulton and Watt principally from the original Mss, comprising also a history of the invention and introduction of the steam-engine." London, UK: John Murray, Albemarle Street. – www.gutenberg.org/files/52069/52069-h/52069-h.htm

**

In September, 1784 Rumsey recognized the incomparable George Washington.

***

Nick Blanton on hammered dulcimer over images 33-35a

**

We already know that on September 6, 1784, George Washington met Rumsey at Rumsey’s boardinghouse in Berkeley Springs and,

33. rushing Potomac River Shepherdstown Pack Horse Ford by Jim Surkamp.

**

after a demonstration, was quite impressed with a cruder boat invention of Rumsey’s – not steam powered

34. George Washington by Gilbert Stuart National Gallery of Art – Washington DC Source: Walters Art Museum Date: 1821 –
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Walters_Gilbert_Stuart_George_…

– Certificate for James Rumsey, 7 September 1784 Actual letter image

– “Certificate for James Rumsey, 7 September 1784,” Founders Online, National Archives, version of January 18, 2019, founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/04-02-02-0065

[Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series, vol. 2, 18 July 1784 – 18 May 1785, ed. W. W. Abbot. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1992, p. 69.]).

**
to the degree that Washington gave Rumsey a certificate of support that went a long long way winning for Rumsey the patent in Virginia and becoming a prestigious advantage in his patent race against his rival, John Fitch.

35. John Fitch (1743-1798) – derivative work: Beao
– commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Fitch_(inventor).png.

35a. James Rumsey ca. 1790 Attributed to George William West Born: St. Andrew’s Parish, Maryland 1770 Died: 1795 oil on wood 4 7/8 x 4 1/8 in. (12.4 x 10.5 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Eugene A. Rumsey and Brothers 1957.11.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Foundation Center –
commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Rumsey-1957.11.2.jpg

**
Washington saw Rumsey move forever forward the following March with a new idea to build a steamboat.

Perhaps it was because Newton’s Third Law of Motion was taking hold in his imagination and the watertube boiler was coming into view. But he let Washington know of this profound leap forward in his idea of a now called STEAM boat in a letter March 10, 1785:

36. Rumsey, James. (1788). "The explanations, and annexed plates, of the following improvements in mechanics, viz. 1st, a new constructed boiler. 2nd, a machine for raising water. 3d, a grist-mill. 4th, a sawmill, &c. are respectfully dedicated to the patrons of the plans, by the inventor." Philadelphia, PA: Joseph James Publisher. –
link.bowdoin.edu/portal/The-explanations-and-annexed-plat…

37. – James Rumsey to George Washington, March 10, 1785, George Washington Papers, Series 4, General Correspondence: James Rumsey to George Washington, March 10, 1785 –
link.bowdoin.edu/portal/The-explanations-and-annexed-plat…

– (George Washington by Gilbert Stuart National Gallery of Art – Washington DC Date: 1821 wikipedia.org 27 July 2001 Web. 19 January 2019).- (James Rumsey ca. 1790 Attributed to George William West Born: St. Andrew’s Parish, Maryland 1770 Died: 1795 oil on wood 4 7/8 x 4 1/8 in. (12.4 x 10.5 cm) rectangle Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Eugene A. Rumsey and Brothers 1957.11.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum 3rd Floor, Luce Foundation Center uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 2 March 2009, 17:03 by Pohick2 – commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Rumsey-1957.11.2.jpg

**
Rumsey went on:
I have taken the greatest pains to affect another kind of Boats upon the princeples I was mentioning to you at Richmond. I have the pleasure to Inform you that I have Brought it to the greatest perfection.

***

Nick Blanton on hammered dulcimer over images

**

Rumsey had invented a steam pump later that year and realized that poleboats were too ungainly to succeed.

(7:28-7:58 in the video showing poleboats and a quoted article is omitted)

38. – (National Park Service catalogue 1991 p. 33.
– archive.org/details/chesapeakeohioca00nati/page/33/mode/1…

39. – (drawing Potowmack company HAER VA,30-GREFA,1- (sheet 1 of 2) – Potowmack Company: Great Falls Canal & Locks, Great Falls, Fairfax County, VA DRAWINGS FROM SURVEY HAER VA-13 –
www.loc.gov/resource/hhh.va0424.sheet/?sp=1

***

Nick Blanton (hammered dulcimer), Ralph Gordon (cello), Shana Aisenbeerg (guitar) over images 40-46

40.- A map of the most inhabited part of Virginia containing the whole province of Maryland with part of Pensilvania, New Jersey and North Carolina.Contributor Names: Fry, Joshua, approximately 1700-1754. Jefferson, Peter, 1708-1757, joint author. Jefferys, Thomas, – 1771. Created/Published: London, Thos. Jefferys [1755]
– www.loc.gov/resource/g3880.ct000370/

– 41.& 42 – (Shepherdstown Duke/New Street
– www.google.com/maps/@39.4311639,-77.8094094,3a,60y,180h,9…

– James Rumsey’s Cabin in Shepherdstown, Va. Howe, Henry. (1852). Historical Collections of Virginia." Charleston, SC: Wm. R. Babcock.
– books.google.com/books?id=ntHTAAAAMAAJ&printsec=front…

**
Washington helped Rumsey get that job that summer supervising an ambitious project to make all of the Potomac navigable.

With money from this lucrative job, Rumsey began assembling his boat in the fall of 1785 in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. His wife’s family lived there. Rumsey saw a way out of his thankless job in July, 1786 and turned full-steam ahead on building his boat.

***

FX of hammering and working over image 43

**
Rumsey and Joseph Barnes, a carpenter, dove into the near-impossible task of building the world’s first viable steamboat, using the frontier rudiments of local iron ores, lead solder, tin, the wood from endless forests, and the improvisational tricks of the craftsmen from the region.

43.- Joseph Mallord William Turner – A Country Blacksmith Disputing upon the Price of Iron, and the Price Charged to the Butcher for Shoeing his Poney exhibited 1807
– www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-a-country-blacksmith-…

**
Washington wrote in January, 1786:
I would advise you to give your steamboat to the public as soon as it can be prepared conveniently. I will also inform you that many people, in guessing your plan, have come very nearly to the mark, and that one that has something of a similar nature to offer to the public wanted a certificate from me.

44.
– (Princess Street boat ramp into the Potomac River – Jim Surkamp)

**

On that December 3rd morning in 1787, Rumsey’s crude steamboat, with a tube boiler made from cut-iron scrap and an engine put together by the brazing process, eased into the Potomac.

***

FX loud cheering crowd over 45-46

45.& 46. – (Rumsey boathouse mural, Shepherdstown, the Entler Hotel by Larry Dreschler – Courtesy Historic Shepherdstown Commission).- (Horatio Gates by James Peale (1749–1831) After Charles Willson Peale (1741–1827) Date circa 1782
– commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Horatio_Gates_at_National…

**
Henry Bedinger, Gen. Horatio Gates and many others witnessed and cheered at what Rumsey billed as the first successful steamboat demonstration. "By God, she moves!" one cried. Wrote Bedinger: After going for a half mile or more, to a point opposite what is known as Swearingen’s Spring, she rounded to and returned, going for some little distance. . . .

47. – (Potomac River as seen from Rumsey monument 1900 – Ella May Turner).

***

Ralph Gordon (cello) over images 49-51

**
Thus she continued to go to and fro, up and down the river, for about the space of two hours. This the very last steamboat demonstration of Rumsey’s – both lasting only for part of a day – was his only successful steamboat demonstration, as he was vexed by lack of funds, poor materials unskilled workmen and the specter of rival inventors and companies.

48. – (James Rumsey ca. 1790 Attributed to George William West Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Eugene A. Rumsey and Brothers Luce Foundation Center
– commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Rumsey-1957.11.2.jpg

**
Yet all throughout, thick and thin, he was imagining in his mind’s playfully protean laboratory a plethora of inventions that have survived and shaped the world we live in today.

49. 50 & 51. – ((James Rumsey ca. 1790 Attributed to George William West Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Eugene A. Rumsey and Brothers Luce Foundation Center
– commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Rumsey-1957.11.2.jpg

– (George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, National Gallery of Art – Washington DC Source: Walters Art Museum Date: 1821

– (The Carriage Ride Home by Thomas Birch
– en.wahooart.com/@@/8CEGXT-Thomas-Birch-The-Carriage-Ride-…

– (Independence Hall
– www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery-item.htm?pg=0&id=30A8…

***

Big Circle by Cam Millar (cammillar.com) over images 52-57

**
He wrote Washington in the spring, 1788: Tomorrow morning, I throw myself upon the wide world in pursuit of my own plans, being no longer able to proceed upon my own foundations. I shall bend my course for Philadelphia where I hope to have it in my power to convince a Franklin and a Rittenhouse. To spur him on to new heights, Ben Franklin, another great American who was impressed by Rumsey’s ideas, made himself the first to subscribe (and others promptly followed) launching the Rumseyan Society and they ponied up 200 pounds Sterling and bid Rumsey to go to London, where the real entrepreneurial action was.

52, 53, & 54. – (American Philosophical Society headquarters at 104 S. 5th Street between Chestnut and Walnut Streets in the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, was built in 1785-1789
– www.amphilsoc.org/visit-museum

– (Ben Franklin (1706-1790) by Artist: Joseph Duplessis (1725–1802) Date: circa 1785
– commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Benjamin_Franklin_by_Jose…

– (David Rittenhouse (1732-1796) by Charles Willson Peale
– commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Willson_Peale_-_D…

55 & 56. – (list of subscribers and frontispiece of the Rumseyan Society – from Ella May Turner’s "James Rumsey: Pioneer in Steam Navigation" Mennonite Press – 1930).

57. – (London 1750s Artist Thomas Bowles (–1762) A General View of the City of London and the River Thames, plate 2 from ‘Views of London’, 1794 Date: 1751; 1794
– commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Panoramic_view_of_London_…

***

Shana Aisenberg on banjo over images 58-59

58. – (Port Glasgow by R.P. Leitch from Smiles, Samuel. (1865). "The Lives of Boulton & Watt." London, UK: John Murray, Albemarle Street. p. 158.
– www.gutenberg.org/files/52069/52069-h/52069-h.htm

58a. James Rumsey

**
In two hours I shall be on board a ship bound for London with a bill for two hundred pounds sterling in my pocket and the best letters Philadelphia can afford. Doctor Franklin is writing a letter for me. . . .This Charles is my meridian, if I do not do something now I am done.

59. – (Howard Pyle’s book of the American spirit; the romance of American history, pictured by Howard Pyle, comp. by Merle Johnson, with narrative descriptive text from original sources, edited by Francis J. Dowd. Main Author: Pyle, Howard, 1853-1911, Related Names: Dowd, Francis Joseph 1876-, ed., Johnson, Merle De Vore 1874-1935, comp. Published: New York, Harper & brothers, 1923.
babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015003654194&vie…

References:

1. Kemp, Emory. "James Rumsey and His Role in the Improvements Movement." West Virginia History (1989). Vol. XLVIII, pp. 1-6.

2. Layton, Edwin T. Jr. "James Rumsey Pioneer Technologist." West Virginia History (1989). Vol. XLVIII pp. 7-33.

3. Hindle, Brooke. "James Rumsey and the rie of Steamboating in the United States." West Virginia History (1989). Vol. XLVIII, pp. 34-43.

4. James Rumsey pioneered scientific ways of inventing. Washington and Jefferson hailed him as a genius. Here’s why.
By:
Edwin T. Layton, Jr.
Spring 1987 | Volume 2 | Issue 3

James Rumsey, a remarkable American inventor of the eighteenth century, is today almost forgotten. Most technological histories accord him little more than a footnote, as one of the less successful claimants to the invention of the steamboat. To some extent this is due to the loss of all his United States patents in the great Patent Office fire of 1836. But his four British patents, describing more than twenty inventions, have survived, and they and other sources make it apparent that Rumsey was one of America’s most creative inventors. He made several major contributions to the steamboat; his most important invention was his reaction wheel, which served as a starting point for the highly fruitful work by Americans on hydraulic turbines. Rumsey’s greatest achievement, however, lay not in any of his twenty to thirty inventions but in his role in changing the very process of invention. He forged new links between science and technology in an age when Newtonian mechanics was still new and invention was still largely a matter of craftsmanship and trial and error. He brought the two together by creating ways of thinking that have become integral to modern engineering design.

Born in 1743 in northeastern Maryland, Rumsey was an unusual combination of Southern gentleman and ingenious Yankee. He came from an impoverished branch of a prominent family; his father was a poor farmer, but his cousin William Rumsey was a prominent Maryland landowner and a member of the American Philosophical Society. Despite a rudimentary education, precarious finances, and almost ceaseless struggle, Rumsey clung to his gentility as perhaps only the downwardly mobile can. His polite manners did not, however, account for his ability to gain and keep the support of powerful patrons such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. Rumsey impressed his contemporaries with a fertility of invention that has seldom been equaled. Jefferson called him the “most original and the greatest mechanical genius I have ever seen.”

Rumsey was the proverbial jack of all trades; a “born mechanic and skilled blacksmith,” he also had practical experience as a sawyer, building contractor, storekeeper, innkeeper, miller, and millwright. In 1782 and 1783 alone he built a sawmill, an iron mill, and several gristmills in Berkeley County, Virginia (now Morgan County, West Virginia), plus several buildings in Bath, the center of Berkeley County (now Berkeley Springs, West Virginia), for George Washington. It was during his years in and near Berkeley County, from 1782 to 1788, that he found his vocation as an inventor.

Rumsey’s first significant invention was a boat designed to mechanically propel itself upstream against the current. Power was supplied by a waterwheel, which moved a carriage back and forth inside the boat like a piston, parallel to the keel. Poles were loosely mounted to the carriage at about a forty-five-degree angle in the downstream direction so that they would drag along the bottom during the carriage’s forward motion but would catch and push against the river bottom on the carriage’s backward return.

In 1784 Rumsey, having made a model of his boat, sought a patent monopoly for it from the Virginia legislature. He was almost rejected, but Washington’s support saved the day. Congress promised a large land grant effective upon a successful demonstration of a full-size boat able to travel the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Rumsey’s inability to make the pole boat work- and it must have seemed especially inadequate in the deep waters of those big rivers—and his increasing interest in steam were probably decisive in his subsequent shift to a scientific basis for his inventions. In July 1785 he was appointed, through the patronage of Washington, to a canal-engineering position with the Potomac Navigation Company. This undoubtedly furthered the scientific self-education he had undertaken.

In December 1787 Rumsey held a successful demonstration on the Potomac River of his steam-powered jet-of-water reaction boat.

It is possible to reconstruct, in broad outline, Rumsey’s shift from a craft to a scientific base for his inventions. Prior to 1785 his inventions, notably his pole boat, were craft-based. That is, they consisted of components familiar to craftsmen but arranged in unfamiliar configurations. But craft knowledge provided no method for perfecting such inventions; success depended upon luck and cut and try.

Science seemed to offer greater certainty. From 1785 on Rumsey’s inventions were scientific. They included a watertube boiler and a steam pump in 1785, a steamboat powered by the reaction of a backward jet of water in 1786, an improvement of Barker’s reaction water mill at about the same time, and a piston-driven hydraulic sawmill in 1787. (Barker’s mill was a hollow vertical cylinder with boxlike arms projecting from the bottom; water that was poured down through it would spin out from apertures on alternate sides of these arms, driving the mill by reaction.) Rumsey continued to work on these inventions and sketched about twenty more in a remarkable burst of creativity during his stay in England from 1788 until his death there, in December 1792.

Benjamin Franklin helped begin all this activity. In December 1785, after his return from France, Franklin gave a paper before the American Philosophical Society in which he reported the conclusions of Daniel Bernoulli, one of Europe’s leading scientists, that a boat might be advantageously driven by the force of reaction of a jet of water shot backward from it. Franklin added his own suggestion that the jet of water might be produced by a steam engine. Rumsey evidently heard about Franklin’s proposal, and he designed a steamboat based on this plan.

The greatest scientific influence upon Rumsey, however, was not Franklin but John T. Desaguliers, a British lecturer of French ancestry who had popularized Newtonian science. Desaguliers believed that modern science should provide new foundations for technology, and he addressed the second volume of his two-volume treatise, A Course of Experimental Philosophy , to craftsmen without advanced training in mathematics. The first volume had been published in 1734, and the second in 1744, the year following Rumsey’s birth. Despite its age, this work provided Rumsey with an excellent guide to Newtonian physics cast in experimental form and employing only simple arithmetic. The technology was somewhat outdated, but Rumsey found in it much inspiration for invention, including the first public description of Barker’s mill.

Rumsey learned from Desaguliers to think about technology in the abstract manner developed by scientists, and he learned to break down machines into their component parts and analyze the workings of these parts as independent entities. He also benefited from Desaguliers’s emphasis on building scientific models of machines. Nonetheless, Desaguliers’s legacy was a mixed blessing; to him as to Rumsey, machines were simply expressions of scientific laws, and both he and Rum- sey tended to neglect the development process that translates theoretical principles into a workable full-scale invention.

Rumsey was also misled by an erroneous scientific principle that Desaguliers presented. Desaguliers reported on the “discovery” by Antoine Parent of the inherent inefficiency of waterwheels powered by the direct action of water. Parent had deduced mathematically that according to Newton’s first law of motion, all such wheels are limited to no more than about 15 percent efficiency (the ratio between the available power and that utilized by the machine). Since the paddle wheel of a boat is essentially a waterwheel run backward, the limitations on the efficiency of water mills should apply equally to paddle wheels. It appeared that a better mode of propulsion for steamboats would have to be found. In fact, Parent’s theory had already been proved wrong in experiments by the great British civil engineer John Smeaton, which had” been published in the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions for 1759-60. The actual limits of efficiency of vertical water mills varied from 50 to 100 percent. Rumsey was apparently unaware of Smeaton’s work.

Many leading scientists and engineers were convinced that the use of reaction in place of action offered a scientific high road to novel and efficient mechanical inventions. (Reaction means recoil, as with a cannon; this force is always equal to the action with which it is paired.) This line of reasoning was the direct inspiration for a number of reaction motors, including Barker’s mill and a continental equivalent, Segner’s mill. Leonhard Euler, the great mathematician, and his son Johann designed reaction mills inspired by Segner’s. The lure of Parent’s theory provided indirect inspiration for the reaction boats suggested by Bernoulli and Franklin as well.

On December 3,1787, Rumsey held a public demonstration of his steampowered jet-of-water reaction boat before crowds gathered on the cliffs of the Potomac River in Berkeley County. The spectators cheered the successful test, but mechanical difficulties suggested the need to leave the Virginia frontier for a place where more advanced technologies were available. It was time for Rumsey to move to a larger stage. In search of support he traveled in March 1788 to Philadelphia. There he presented his ideas for inventions to the American Philosophical Society. Led by Franklin as first subscriber, a number of members formed the Rumseian Society to raise money to send Rumsey to England to exploit his inventions.

After his arrival in England in June 1788, Rumsey entered into negotiations with the firm of Matthew Boulton and James Watt. Boulton offered him a partnership in the manufacture and sale of steamboats, but the firm broke off negotiations when Rumsey tried to get more favorable terms.

Rumsey felt he was entitled to more partly because of the high value he placed on certain inventions that existed only as sketches and as theories. Boulton rejected Rumsey’s claims; in one instance—Rumsey’s calculation of the theoretical efficiency of his tubular steam boiler—Boulton responded that “you may easily determine its ratio [i.e., its efficiency] by experiments which are worth a thousand fancys or theories.”

The results were tragic for Rumsey. Boulton and Watt had capital; Rumsey’s lack of funds was to plague him until his death. They also had knowhow. Moreover, Boulton was right: Rumsey placed too much faith in deductions from scientific theories, and he failed to appreciate the need for a long period of expensive development even for a science-based technology. In this he had been led astray by Desaguliers, who, though he advocated experiment, thought inventors could contrive new machines by deduction “ a priori , that they may always be sure of what the effect of the performance will be.”

When Rumsey had presented his ideas in Philadelphia in 1788, one of them had been for a reaction mill, an improvement on Barker’s mill with the water admitted from below, and Rumsey made the claim that “there is no other method of applying the same quantity of water that can give so much motion and power in an equal time.” But when he measured the power and efficiency of his mill, by means of an ingenious experimental apparatus, Rumsey found that high efficiencies could be obtained only at unattainably high speeds. He measured an efficiency of just 29 percent.

Reaction mills based on Barker’s mill are inherently inefficient. In modern terms this is because they lose so much kinetic energy through the high speed of the water at discharge. That is why mills similar to Rumsey’s improvement of Barker’s mill are widely used as spinning lawn sprinklers. There the excess kinetic energy serves the useful task of spreading the water over a wide area.

While he never explicitly acknowledged it, Rumsey evidently knew that his reaction steamboat would have the same low efficiency characteristics as his mill. Both in reaction mills and in boats of Rumsey’s sort—as in modern jet aircraft as well—the theoretical limit of efficiency is 100 percent, but it can be approached only as the speed nears infinity. A serviceable reaction boat was quite feasible, but screw propulsion or paddle wheels were inherently more efficient at realistic speeds.
The inventor’s series of reaction waterwheel designs had the greatest impact on American technology.

Though Rumsey sometimes failed disastrously when he tried to use science deductively, he was remarkably successful in using methods suggested by science to produce new inventions. In essence he used scientific abstraction to decompose machines into their component parts. These components could then be analyzed and recombined in novel configurations to produce new inventions. Rumsey had a powerful visual imagination; few inventors in history have rivaled his ability to produce highly original ideas by picturing them in his mind.

Rumsey’s methods have been incorporated into modern engineeringdesign technique, usually as aids to creativity. First he would gain an abstract understanding of the elements of a machine. Then he would manipulate these elements by mental operations similar to those employed by scientists in considering the spatial relations of geometric figures or the interactions of material bodies. That is, he would combine mechanical elements, separate them, reverse their roles, change their spatial relationships (e.g., move an object from vertical to horizontal, turn it upside down, etc.), reverse the direction of motion or flow, or reverse the motion of an entire machine (that is, imagine it running backward).

Reversibility has proved an especially powerful analytical tool for technologists, and Rumsey was one of the first to use it systematically. He apparently realized that just about any machine, if reversed, will result in another machine. When he invented his reaction wheel, he saw that upon reversal it became a centrifugal pump. This insight was not shared by other engineers until many years after Rumsey’s death. He likewise perceived that if the direction of the water’s flow in an Archimedean screw pump is reversed, it will become a sort of turbine (that is, if water is poured in at the top, it will produce mechanical power through its rotation). If a large Archimedean screw pump had its casing removed and were laid on its side, it could be employed as a stream or tidal mill.

He also found new possibilities by combining components or systems. He linked steam engines not only with boats but with wagons. He invented his reaction mill by combining the method of delivering water employed in the column-of-water piston engine (in which water at high pressure was delivered through an iron pipe) with the rotor of Barker’s mill. This enabled him to introduce the water from the bottom of his rotor, lessening the weight on the bearing on which it spun—a major disadvantage of Barker’s design—while utilizing high falls of water.

Rumsey also could rearrange the spatial relations of the parts of a design. In adapting his old pole boat for steam, he made a patent drawing that pictured the steam cylinder in the conventional upright position, but he soon realized that a steam cylinder could work as well on its side, so he suggested that arrangement to allow the engine to connect directly to the propulsive mechanism (the wheeled cart carrying the poles). In the case of his steam wagon (never built), he proposed likewise to connect the piston of a steam engine directly to the wheels. His insight was critical in the later evolution of the Western steamboat. The direct connection of a horizontal cylinder to the paddle wheels had a number of advantages; among them, it allowed the engine and boiler to be located on the same deck, eliminating the need for a deep hold. Thus the shallow-draft steamboats so familiar to us were based on an arrangement of boiler, cylinder, and drive evidently invented by Rumsey.

5.
Kercheval, Samuel. (1850). “A History of the Valley of Virginia.” Woodstock, VA.: J. Gatewood, printer. Internet Archives: Digital Library of Free Books, Movies, Music, and Wayback Machine. 27 Oct. 2009. Web. 17 Feb. 2011.
title page.
archive.org/details/historyofvalley00kerc/page/n6
p. 236.
archive.org/details/historyofvalley00kerc/page/236

6.
[Diary entry: 6 September 1784]
6th. Remained at Bath all day and was shewed the Model of a Boat constructed by the ingenious Mr. Rumsey, for ascending rapid currents by mechanism; the principles of this were not only shewn, & fully explained to me, but to my very great satisfaction, exhibited in practice in private, under the injunction of Secresy, untill he saw the effect of an application he was about to make to the assembly of this State, for a reward.

The model, & its operation upon the water, which had been made to run pretty swift, not only convinced me of what I before thought next to, if not quite impracticable, but that it might be turned to the greatest possible utility in inland Navigation; and in rapid currents; that are shallow. And what adds vastly to the value of the discovery, is the simplicity of its works; as they may be made by a common boat builder or carpenter, and kept in order as easy as a plow, or any common impliment of husbandry on a farm.1

Having obtained a Plan of this Town (Bath) and ascertained the situation of my lots therein, which I examined; it appears that the disposition of a dwelling House; Kitchen & Stable cannot be more advantageously placed than they are marked in the copy I have taken from the plan of the Town; to which I refer for recollection, of my design; & Mr. Rumsey being willing to undertake those Buildings, I have agreed with him to have them finished by the 10th. of next July. The dwelling House is to be 36 feet by 24, with a gallery of 7 feet on each side of the House, the whole fronts. Under the House is to be a Cellar half the size of it, walled with Stone, and the whole underpined. On the first floor are to be 3 rooms; one of them 24 by 20 feet, with a chimney at the end (middle thereof)—the other two to be 12 by 16 feet with corner chimneys. On the upper Floor there are to be two rooms of equal sizes, with fire places; the Stair case to go up in the Gallery—galleries above also. The Kitchen and Stable are to be of the same size—18 by 22; the first with a stone Chimney and good floor above. The Stable is to be sunk in the ground, so as that the floor above it on the North, or side next the dwelling House, shall be level with the Yard—to have a partition therein—the West part of which to be for a Carriage, Harness, and Saddles—the East for Hay or Grain—all three of the Houses to be shingled with [ ] 2

Meeting with the Revd. Mr. Balmain at this place, he says the distance from Staunton to the Sweet Springs is 95 Miles; that is, 50 to what are commonly called the Augusta Springs & 45 afterwards. This differs widely from Captn. Strodes acct., and both say they have travelled the Road.3

From Colo. Bruce4 whom I also found at this place, I was informed that he had travelled from the North Branch of Potomack to the Waters of Yaughiogany, and Monongahela—that the Potomk. where it may be made Navigable—for instance where McCulloughs path crosses it, 40 Miles above the old fort (Cumberland), is but about 6 Miles to a pretty large branch of the Yohiogany, but how far it is practicable to make the latter navigable he knows not, never having explored it any length downwards5—that the Waters of Sandy Creek, which is a branch of Cheat River, which is a branch of Monongahela, interlocks with these; and the Country between flat—that he thinks (in order to av[oi]d passing through the State of Pensylvania) this would be an eligable Rout using the ten Miles C[ree]k with a portage to the Navigable Waters of the little Kanhawa; which from report he says, are only 10 Miles apart.6 He adds that the distance from the North branch to Cheat Rivr. is great—and from the South branch greater, but it is to be observed that most of this information is from report—vague and not much to be depended upon. I therefore endeavoured to prevail upon Colo. Bruce to explore the Country from the North Branch of Potomack at McCulloughs path, or the highest practicable navigation on it to the Nearest Waters of Yohiogany—thence to Sandy Creek, & down that to its junction with the Cheat River—laying the whole down by actual surveys & exact measurement; which he has promised to do, if he can accomplish it.7 On my part I have engaged, if a Surveyor can be obtained, to run the Water of the little Kanhawa from the Mouth to the highest Navigation—thence across to ten miles Creek on the Monongahela, & up that to the Mo[uth] of Sandy Creek, in order to connect the two Works together, & form a proper plan with observations and even to continue up the Cheat River further, to see if a better communication cannot be had with the Potomack than by the Sandy Creek.

Having hired three Pack horses—to give my own greater relief—I sent my Baggage of this day about one oclock, and ordered those who had charge of it,8 to proceed to one Headricks at 15 Miles Creek, distant abt. ten miles, to Night, and to the old Town next day.9

(1). James Rumsey (1743–1792) of Bath was a handsome and engaging jack-of-all-trades. Born in Cecil County, Md., he moved to the Warm Springs area from Baltimore about 1782, and although a man of relatively limited means and education, he had soon become owner of a sawmill and bloomery, partner in a store, contractor for building new bathhouses, and operator with Robert Throckmorton (Throgmorton) of a new boardinghouse “at the Sign of the Liberty Pole and Flag” (Md. Journal, 15 June 1784, 25 June 1784; NEWBRAUGH, 1:15; TURNER, 3–7).

GW lodged at the boardinghouse (Cash Memoranda, DLC:GW), and there probably met Rumsey, whose chief interest, he found, was not business, but mechanical invention. The small model of the mechanical boat that GW saw today was designed somewhat paradoxically to be propelled forward by the force of the current against which it was to move. The “boat” actually consisted of two boats with a paddle wheel mounted between them. As the wheel turned with the current, it operated poles that were supposed to push against the river bottom, making the vessel “walk” upstream (Rumsey to GW, 10 Mar. 1785, GW to Hugh Williamson, 15 Mar. 1785, DLC:GW).

Before leaving Bath, GW gave Rumsey a certificate attesting to the potential value of the invention and his faith in its ultimate success (7 Sept. 1784, DLC:GW). Rumsey promptly had the certificate published in several prominent newspapers, and soon obtained exclusive rights from the legislatures of Virginia, Maryland, and several other states to make and operate his mechanical boat, a necessary step to protect his invention in the absence of any national patent office. A modified full-scale version of the vessel was tried 9 and 13 Sept. 1786 on the Potomac River near Shepherdstown with little success. The poles slipped on the bottom on the first occasion, and the current was too slow to operate the poles on the second one (Rumsey to GW, 19 Sept. 1786, DLC:GW). Rumsey then abandoned this particular invention, having previously decided on developing a steamboat, a decision that led him in a more fruitful direction, but involved him in much controversy.

“[Diary entry: 6 September 1784],” Founders Online, National Archives, version of January 18, 2019, founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/01-04-02-0001-…. [Original source: The Diaries of George Washington, vol. 4, 1 September 1784 – 30 June 1786, ed. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978, pp. 9–14.]

founders.archives.gov/?q=James%20Rumsey&s=1511311111&…

7.
Certificate for James Rumsey, 7 September 1784
Certificate for James Rumsey
[Bath, Va., 7 September 1784]
I have seen the model of Mr Rumsey’s Boats constructed to work against stream; have examined the power upon which it acts; have been an eye witness to an actual experiment in running water of some rapidity; & do give it as my opinion (altho’ I had little faith before) that he has discovered the art of propelling Boats, by mechanism & small manual assistance, against rapid currents: that the discovery is of vast importance—may be of the greatest usefulness in our inland navigation—&, if it succeeds, of which I have no doubt, that the value of it is greatly enhanced by the simplicity of the works; which when seen & explained to, might be executed by the most common Mechanic’s.1

Given under my hand at the town of Bath, county of Berkeley in the State of Virga this 7th day of September 1784.

G: Washington

LB, DLC:GW. Another copy of GW’s original certificate, which Rumsey sent to Gov. Benjamin Harrison, is in Governor’s Letter Book no. 5, Nc-Ar. A contemporary copy, now in MdAN, was printed on 9 Oct. 1784 in the Virginia Gazette or, American Advertiser (Richmond) with these words of introduction: “By the following Certificate it will appear, that our beloved General, in his retreat from the Glories of the Field, still continues to encourage, and pay attention to, such undertakings as are pregnant with great utility to his country.”

(1). In his journal on 6 Sept., GW describes at some length viewing the operation of James Rumsey’s model at Bath in Frederick County (see Diaries, 4:9–10). A sketch of the mechanical boat that “walked on the bottom of shallow streams” is reproduced there on page 9. See also GW’s correspondence with Rumsey in 1785 [1] [2] [3] [4].

“Certificate for James Rumsey, 7 September 1784,” Founders Online, National Archives, version of January 18, 2019, founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/04-02-02-0065. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Confederation Series, vol. 2, 18 July 1784 – 18 May 1785, ed. W. W. Abbot. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1992, p. 69.]

8.
GW had written Rumsey on 2 July, saying that he “took the liberty of mentioning your name to the Directors” and urged Rumsey to apply for the position of manager of the Potowack Company (DLC:GW).

“[July 1785],” Founders Online, National Archives, version of January 18, 2019, founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/01-04-02-0002-…. [Original source: The Diaries of George Washington, vol. 4, 1 September 1784 – 30 June 1786, ed. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978, pp. 157–169.]

9.
To George Washington from James Rumsey, 10 March 1785
From James Rumsey
Bath [Va.] March the 10th 1785
Dear Sir
Your favour of the 22d Ultimo has Just Came to hand1 And it gives me much Uneasyness that I Should though unintentionly, have gave you So much trouble abought Ryans note, as well as not Comeing up to my promis in the Repayment of the money you Lett mr Herbert have on my acount, I am also hurt that from the present apearance of things you have Reason to think me a person not posessed of the Least honor Or Delicacy, to be Capable, as you have Very Justly Observed, of Sending you the note of a Shufling player, for Shufling he Certainly is, But your goodness Sir, is Conspecuous in your Letter to me (as well as on all Other ocations,) to give me Such Indulgences as you have proposed at a time when you have Reason to think I Do not Deserve it. But although I am Senceable that nothing I Can offer as Excuse Should be Receivd as full Satisfaction as the money was not paid yet I trust that you may not think So hard of me when I give you a Detail of my proceedings after I had the honour of Seeing you Last. I Stayed at Richmond near two weeks after my buisness was Done Endeavouring to get Sum money of Ryan But To Little purpose Except Sufisiant to pay my Expences I then Toald Him the Solemn Ingagement I was under to you For the payment of fifty pounds in a few weeks and as I thought It might tend to make him punktial I took the Liberty to have the note drawn in your name But never Intended you Should See it much more to have So much troubl with it. When I was On my way home I met with a Mr Klinehoof of Alexandria knowing him to be a Safe hand, and thinking my acquantance with Mr Herbert, would Intitle me to ask him a Small favour, as I Conceivd it, I Enclosed the note in a Letter to him and beged him In the most Serious and pressing terms to Send the note to his freind in Richmond for payment against the Day it was Due and if the money was Obtained to give it to you Immediately But by no means to present the note to you that it was only Drew in your name to urge the other to payment. my hearing no more of the matter for Sumtime gave me hopes that the money was Receivd by Mr Herbert, A bought the first of Febuary I had an Opertunity of writeing to Mr Herbert abought the matter and Sum other Buisness But to my great Surprize his answer Respecting the note was—“The note being Drawn In the Generals name I Delivered it to him,[”] This answer gave me great uneaseyness Least it Should turn out as it Realy has. I had one Chance that I thought good in Berkeley to get the money where it was Due me, But all my Indavours proved Inefectual or I Should have Immediately Came Down, I therefore waited the Event of Ryans note with great anxiety, your Letter Announced it and your Indulgence Exceeded my most Sanguine Expectations. I had an Opertunity to Richmond and pressed Ryan hard to pay the note had no answer but heard of his Sickness and his Since Removeing to Norfolk if you will be kind enough to Leave the note with Mr Herbert when I Come or Send to alexandria perhaps I may yet get in his favour to forward it to Ryan if not I Can have it home.2

Respecting your houses Sir, they will Shorely be built agreeable to your Directions, and would have been had I not have heard from you at all as I had Spoke to a man before I went to Richmond that kept two or three workmen to build me the kitchens and Stables of all the houses I had to build, my Stay was So Long that before I got home the Loggs were all hewed the Shingles got and are all on the Spott Readey for Raising. I hope Sir you Will not Disaprove when I tell you of my proceedings Respecting your Big house, nor Constru it Into a Desire of me to Revive our old agreement, But I have it under way the window Shutters Doors and Sash are All made and the most of the moaldings Every Inch of the Stuff is Sawed and I have agreed with a man to frame and Raise it against the first Day of may, I Shall not Call upon you nor Draw any Orders more for money nor Do I Desire that you Should Send me any Except you Can Spare it with the greatest Convenance, and I now give you my word that I Will not Distress myself to finish it if I find I Cannot Do it without, I will Quit when I have it Inclosed which I Can Do with But Little more Expence, and it will then Be as Secure against the weather as if it Was Done.3

Respecting my Boats[,] Georgia & South Cariline I have petioned, North Carolina I have But have not heard what they have Done, maryland, I hear has gave me an Exclusive Right under a redemtion by the Legeslature, pensylvania has Done the Same, the Jerseys threw it out of the house by a majority of four, new york asembly was not Siting which was the farthest that I made applycations to northward—I have made many neat and accurate Experiments with my Boats Since I Saw you, and find She far Exceeds my Expectations on the first Experiments made Last fall I find She will go a greater proportion of the Velosity of the water in Rapid Currents than Slow ones. the Reason is, the friction is nearly the Same In Boath Cases, it therefore takes a greater part of the force of a Small Current to over Come it, when a Very Small proportion will Do it with Ease in Rapid water, I have Deduced a Rule from Experiments By which I can tell what Quantity of paddle Boards a head, to Each tun, the Boat Caryes, is nesasary to go up with any proportion you think proper to the Stream that Comes Down, by which I find that the Resistance of water against Boats Increases Exactly as the Squares of the Velosity of the Boats against it, Nether Can their be a general Rule to give the Resistance that Boats of the Same Burthen and Velosity meets with If their formes is Different for I find that Bad Shaped Boats meets with nearly three times the Resistance that good ones Do of the Same Burthen, a well Shaped Boat will move a head be her Burthen what it may, as fast as the water Comes Down with three Square feet of paddle Board ahead for Each tun weight taken Up, the Boats weight Included, the fourth part of that much paddle Board will move her up half as fast as the Current Comes Down and four times that much paddle Board will Move her up twice as fast as the Current Comes Down, it then follows that if a Boat and her Load weighing Eight tun, with twenty four Square feet of paddle Boards, a head was to move up a River as fast as the Current Came Down, that if Six tuns was taken out of Said boat which would Leave But Little more than an Emty Boat that She would then go up the River with twice the Velosity that the Current Came Down So much for the kind of Boats, the Modle of which you Saw.4

I have taken the greatest pains to afect another kind of Boats upon the princeples I was mentioning to you at Richmond I have the pleasure to Inform you that I have Brought it to the greatest perfection It is true it will Cost Sum more than the other way But when Done is more mannagable and Can be worked by as few hands the power is amence and I am Quite Convinced that Boats of pasage may be made to go against the Current of the Mesisipia or ohio River, or in the gulf Stream from the Lewerd to the Windward Islands from Sixty to one
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