Lot 13: Partly-printed vellum DS, signed "J. Q. Adams" as president and "H. Clay" as secretary of state, two pages, 11 x 15, August 19, 1826. A patent issued to "Benjamin Wilse, a Citizen of the United States, [who] hath alleged that he has invented a new and useful improvement in Suspenders." Boldly signed at the conclusion by President Adams and countersigned by Secretary of State Henry Clay and Attorney General William Wirt. The white paper seal affixed to the lower left remains intact. The second page, still attached by the original black ribbon, contains a description of the patent, in part: "This improvement is the application of caoutchouc or gum elastic, commonly called Indian Rubber, for gentleman's suspender springs-Cut in the form of open links...pieces may be applied...to lessen the force of the springs. They may be neatly covered with any kind of cloth so as to admit of sufficient expansion." Intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through a single letter of Clay's signature), moderate overall soiling, and a small stain near the top, otherwise fine condition. According to a 1908 book entitled A Genealogical and Psychological Memoir of Philippe Maton Wiltsee and His Descendants, Benjamin Wilse was a wallpaper salesman and painter from Utica. It notes that he made nothing off his suspenders patent, but it did introduce him to the patent office which furnished him with another business. Impressed with his drawings, the office used Wilse as a draftsman and directed those applying for patents to him to have their diagrams and schematics created.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs & Artifacts
Friday, 23rd October 2015
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