The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects

Patent right issued to Nathaniel Foster, 28 June 1809



Patent right issued to Nathaniel Foster, 28 June 1809


Patent issued to Nathaniel Foster of Fleming County, Kentucky, for a machine for spinning hemp and flax. Signed by President James Madison, Secretary of State Robert Smith, and Attorney General Caesar A. Rodney.


The Filson Historical Society Manuscript Collection



Madison, James
Smith, Robert
Rodney, Caesar A.





Mss. C F (ovsz.)


The United States of America To all to whom these Letters Patent shall come: Whereas Nathaniel Foster a Citizen of the United States, hath alleged that he has invented a new and useful improvement being a Hemp and flax spinning Machine

which improvement he states has not been known or used before his application ; has made oath that he does verily believe he is the true inventor or discoverer of said improvement,

has paid into the treasury of the United States, the sum of thirty dollars, delivered a receipt for the same, and presented a petition to the Secretary of State, signifying a desire of obtaining an exclusive property in the said improvement, and praying that a patent may be granted for that purpose: These are therefore to grant, according to law, to the said Nathaniel Foster his heirs, administrators, or assigns, for the term of fourteen years, from the twenty eight day of June 1809 the full and exclusive right and liberty of making, constructing, using, and vending to others to be used, the said improvement, a description ------------ of the said Nathaniel Foster himself, in the schedule hereto annexed, and is made a part of these presents.

In testimony whereof, I have caused these Letters to be made Patent, and the Seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of Washington, this twenty eighth day of June- in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and nine and of the independence of the United States of America, the thirty third.

(hand signature) BY THE PRESIDENT A Smith Secretary of State. (Seal) City of Washington, To that: I DO HEREBY CERTIFY, That the foregoing Letters Patent, were delivered to me on the twenty eighth day of June in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and nine to be examined, that I have examined the same, and find them conformable to law. And I do hereby return the same to the Secretary of State, within fifteen days from the date aforesaid, to wit: - On this twenty eighth day of June - in the year aforesaid. Attorney general of the United States (signature by hand)
The Schedule referred to in these Letters Patent making part of the same containing a Description in the Words of the said Nathaniel Foster himself of his Hemp & Flax spinning Machine.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Bench on which the big wheel stands must be 12 feet long for a six feet wheel and 2 feet wide: hang the big wheel on uprights to extend from the floor so far above the top of the wheel so as to admit a cross piece to be framed in above. The top of the bench to stand two feet from the floor. The wheel must be turned to a truth, and bring on a steel or Iron axletree: frame the bench of timber (hewed?) 8 by 9 inches, as the width of the small benches are 9 inches I think the best way would be to frame the big wheel with two rims of 2 inch plank, with cross pieces to strengthen the wheel. Hang the wheel so that their centers or axes may all be on a level with each other ; the standards on posts on which the small wheels are hung must be braced or stayed so as to keep them sliding. The [pieces?] of (made?) of wood [?] be plated with thin plates of Iron, and large enough to admit of spools 8 1/2 inches long other wise in proportion of a womans' spinning wheel, only to take up something faster: the wieghts must be sufficient to keep the small wheel up to their work, and no more. The lever to part the wheels to and from their work must stand out about 9 inches so as to be convenient to work with the knees. The cushions on the small wheels, where they come in contact with the big wheel, must be of thick but soft leather wide enough to double over a piece of thick cloth, and closed with a nice seam to make the wheels run smooth, and easy; there must be a tap or nut on the tap of the screws that holds the rowlers to the benches of the small wheels.

N. Foster
_____ Officer Recorded in Book of Miscellaneous Records ______________________ ______________page 1_0 the 5th day of March 1820 and Executed by Dav___ Jas _______ _________ _______ Fleming County, to wit I Joshua Ma_____ Clerk of _____________ being authorized ______to receive and account to _____ in my office ______________________

_ is together with the ________________ ___________ this 13th day of _____ 1810 Joshua _____ 262


Foster, Nathaniel, “Patent right issued to Nathaniel Foster, 28 June 1809,” The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects, accessed April 13, 2024,