Location of original: Offices of Beem Patent Law Firm, Chicago, IL

Key Signers

President: James Monroe
Secretary of State: John Quincy Adams
Attorney General: William Wirt

Patent Information

Date signed: May 6, 1819
Inventor: Beardsley Hendryx
Invention Title: Washing Machine

Patent Transcript

The United States of America,


Whereas Beardsley Hendryx a Citizen of the United States, hath alleged that he has invented a new and useful improvement

in the Washing Machine

which improvement he states has not been known or used before his application; hath made oath that he does verily believe that he is the true inventor or discoverer of the said improvement; hath 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 Beardsley Hendryx his heirs, administrators or assigns for the term of fourteen years, from the sixth day of May one thousand eight hundred and nineteen the full and exclusive right and liberty of making, constructing, using and vending to others to be used, the said improvement; a description whereof is given in the words of the said Beardsley Hendryx 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 sixth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and nineteen and of the independence of the United States of America the forty third.

James Monroe


John Quincy Adams  Secretary of State.

City of Washington, TO WIT:

I DO HEREBY CERTIFY, That the foregoing Letters Patent were delivered to me on the sixth day of May in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and nineteen 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 sixth day of May in the year aforesaid.

William Wirt Attorney General of the United States.

The Schedule referred to in these Letters Patent and making part of the same, containing a description in the words of the said Beardsley Hendryx himself of his improvement on the Washing Machine.

The plan of said machine hereinafter specified, the exclusive use and benefit of which I, the said Beardsley Hendryx, claim as constituting this my invention is as follows, to wit.

A box or vat is first constructed of suitable dimensions to contain the clothes to be washed, and the water for washing the same, say about the feet in length, 18 inches in width and 14 inches deep; the bottom whereof may be straight or curvelinear.  At the ends should be small lids, hung with hinges to prevent the water from escaping when the machine is in operation.

Into the above box is to be introduced a washer constructed as follows.  It is to be of sufficient size to nearly fill the whole box, leaving a small space on each side of about one fourth of an inch and on each end of about one inch measuring the periphery of said washer.  The undersurface of which is to be the segment of a circle of about four feet in diameter and may be constructed of one entire piece of wood and fluted across the bottom.  But the manner which I would recommend would be to take a number of small pieces of wood or any suitable material of about 2 inches in width, three fourths of an inch in thickness, rounded on the outer or under edges exposed to the clothes and about three eighths of an inch asunder framed into two pieces of boards of which consists the sides of the washer between these two pieces of board, which are of course nearly as far asunder as the aforesaid box is wide in the inner side; and upon the small pieces of wood is to be placed a block of wood which of those can a bed block or any other suitable material of forty, fifty, or sixty pounds weigh in order to give sufficient weight to the washer; into which is inserted an upright post which I would term a balance post, by a [illegible] fitted to a corresponding [illegible].  The above mentioned bed block ought to be contracted so much in width so will let the water escape with ease through the ends of the washer and also in thickness that it may be turned up on one end to take out the clothes and replace others.  The balance post ought to be small at the lower end that it should not interfere with the end of the box when the washer is turned up as aforesaid but should be of suitable length; and the size at the top should be sufficient to balance the washer as it vibrates from one end of the box to the other in the manner of rocking a child’s cradle. Near the top of the aforesaid balance post may be inserted a spin or handle to [illegible] hold of; and also a [illegible] may be extended across one end of the aforesaid box or vat that a person may keep it in motion when filling. At the bottom of said box should be a faucet or cock to discharge the water. The said box may stand on legs sufficiently high to suite the [illegible] or be enclosed at the bottom to form a small closet; and when not in use the balance post may be [illegible] from the bed block and laid in the box, and kept under cover. The aforesaid box or vat may be extended three or four inches on each end and a false end inserted perforated with holes composed with rollers so that the water driven forward by the washer may escape through the apertures into the false ends which will prevent its flying over the top of the box. The rollers ought to stand perpendicular or the sides of the box may be raised six or eight inches above the ends and small doors placed on the top of the same with hinges in such a manner as to fall downward, make room for the balance post of the washer to lie over the afore named box so which may be added two folding lids or covers running lengthwise of the box, leaving an aperture between them of sufficient length and width for the balance post of the washer; which lids may be hung with hinges in such a manner that when open they will hang down on the sides of the box.

Beardsley Hendryx


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