Monday, June 6, 2016

Waverly, Jacob Bromwell's wheat fan and Poe's uncle

George Howard at "Waverly" hosted a timed test of Jacob Bromwell's patented fan - it cleaned 26 1/2 bushels of wheat in 7 1/2 minutes. That year, 1819, Bromwell moved to the growing city of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he started a company which is still producing exquisite tin, copper, wire-woven and wooden old-style kitchen tools HERE

Daily National Intelligencer (Washington DC) Sept 18, 1819 -
"Great dispatch in Wheat Cleaning.
On the 26th day of August, 1819, at Waverly, the seat of Mr. Geo. W. Howard in Baltimore county, one of Jacob Bromwell’s Patent Fans, made and sold in this city, by Henry Herring (and of which an elegant engraving is to be found in the 13th number of the Baltimore American Farmer) [below] cleaned twenty-six and a half bushels of chaff wheat in seven minutes and a half.  The operation was performed in the presence of several gentlemen of respectability, who held their watches, and who have certified the fact. (American Farmer)"
The father of Jacob Hall Bromwell (1785-1866) was William Bromwell (1751-1820) a wealthy Quaker businessman in Philadelphia with “a shop for the manufacture of wire and wheat fans, sieves and other articles used in the milling and building trades. Removing to Baltimore his business was increased”…owning a factory, large lumber yard and land.  His four sons joined him as lumber merchants and wire weavers at 17 McElderry Wharf. One son, David, died on a British prison ship in Halifax, Canada in 1815 when he was captured fighting to protect Baltimore.

The 1816 city directory listed the "Bromwell & co. lumber merchants and wheat fan makers and wire weavers" at 17 McElderry Wharf and dwelling at Albemarle street.  Ludwig Herring (1762-1816) and Henry Herring (1792-1868) were listed as lumber merchants at the same address and also lived at 72 and 48 Albemarle St.  Henry Herring, was first married to Edgar Allen Poe's Aunt Elizabeth (1792-1822), his two daughters were favorite cousins of the writer, and he paid for Poe's coffin.
Jacob Bromwell loaded a boat with supplies and went to Cincinnati in 1819 where he started the long-lasting business.  He sold tin cups to soldiers in the Civil War, and the company did very well - early designs included 4 sided grater, popcorn popper, and flour sifter with hand crank; it sold one million long-handled corn poppers by 1952.  Anyone recognized these?  Use them?

American Farmer.  Baltimore June 25, 1819 v1 #13
Patent Self Feeding Wheat Fan.

"HENRY HERRING, No. 17, Mr Elderry’s Wharf, Baltimore is the sole proprietor of Jacob Bromwell’s Patent Self Feeding Wheat Fan. for the atlantic states.

He informs farmers generally, that he has on hand, and manufacture daily Wheat Fans on the above plan, which he will warrant to be superior to any Wheat Fan now in use, in the United States.

The price of the above Fan is $45, and should any Gentleman purchase one, and not find it as represented, Mr. Herring leaves him at liberty to return it, and pledges himself to return the money paid for it.

Wheat Fan makers, or others wishing to make Fans upon the above plan, can have the privilege, by paying $1 for each Fan for the term of fourteen years.

The public are hereby informed, that all patent rights granted by me for using Jacob Bromwell‘s patent self feeding wheat fan, are issued upon an engraved plate representing the Fan HENRY HERRING, Sole Proprietor for the Atlantic States.

We the undersigned, of the city of Baltimore, have seen and examined Jacob Bromwell’s Patent self feeding Wheat Fan is manufactured by Henry Herring, and have no hesitation in recommending it to the farmers, as the best we have ever seen, and particularly well calculated for the cleaning of large crops.

The principle of Self Feeding, being, in our opinion, the most simple, and at the same time the most efficient that can be imagined, and the least liable to get out of order.

Ed. Johnson, Mayor,    /  Wm. McDonald & Son
Richard Frisky,             /  Doct. James Stewart,
Richard Caton,             /  Robert Mills, Architect.

This Fan, as to size, is precisely that of the common kind, and differs from them only in the hopper, feeder and shoe.

The hopper being upright on the sides, and beveling at both ends, to the centre, within about 9 inches at the bottom, in which is placed the feeder, which is a fluted or toothed roller of about 8 inches diameter, the full width of the Fan—and put in motion by a hand chain, leading from the band wheel attached to the feeder, to another behind the main cog, or driving wheel of the Fan, which gives the feeding motion the same as the turning of the Fan, either fast or slow. The wheat and chaff thus passing over the feeder, in a thin, broad sheet the full width of the Fan, has to fall about; a foot upon the riddle, thereby enabling the wind to act upon the smallest particles of chaff before it touches the shoe

The shoe is made to receive the different kinds of riddles necessary to clean all kinds of grain ; and to correspond with the hopper and feeder, being entirely open on the back part, and placed a foot below the feeder, as it falls The shoe being hung in straps and put in motion by an arm tumbler and spring, works very light. The screen is that of the common kind. The advantage of this Fan over those now in use, are

first That of chaffing 120 bushels of wheat an hour, (or as fast as three men can fill the hopper) which Mr. Herring warrants it to do, and to do it well, and

Secondly, without the disagreeable necessity (as in the common way) of feeding with the hand, which every farmer knows must be done with the common kind of Fan, when the wheat is trodden or got out with machinery, and the chaff course, which is the most disagreeable part of cleaning wheat.

This Fan has also a decided advantage in the second time through over the common kind, in the feeding, as it always exposes a broader surface of wheat to the action of the wind

An elegant engraving, representing the construction of this admirable Fan, accompanies this number of the American Farmer, and though not exactly the size of our sheet, will very Well admit of being bound in the first volume of this work."

References -
Daily National Intelligencer (Washington DC) Sept 18, 1819
American Farmer.  Baltimore June 25, 1819 v1 #13
The Bromwell Genealogy: Including Descendants of William Bromwell and Beulah ...By Henrietta Elizabeth Bromwell.Denver:1910
More on Waverly HERE

©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber
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