Letter from Charles Bage to William Strutt, 1816/07/14

My Dear Sir

I am greatly obliged to you for yours of the 3rd and for the attention you have bestowed on the counter. Your have indeed puzzled me by talking of thousands of millions with 3 wheels and 2 pinions. I can imagine a plan with one axle, two barrels upon it; one stationary wheel the teeth turned inwards, two pinions and one face. But then the face must be divided into 100 parts, with 3 pointers moving each 100 times as fast as the one adjoining. The stationary wheel would require 100 teeth and the pinion only one tooth. But the count would terminate at 999999, one short of a million. Then these would require some contrivance to hold the 2 barrels still, whilst their one toothed pinions were not in geer.

I am quite at a loss to imaging your plan, but my chief reason for writing to you now is to request that you will order it to be executed, without waiting for me to see the drawing; because if you find it answer I am sure to do the same.

I believe I used to strong an expression when I said my Loom was constructed on entirely new principles _ some principles are common to all looms, such as throwing the shuttle, and crossing the thread, and giving the stroke with the fly or stay board. But what I claim as new is the mode of communicating those motions, being by weights none of which rise and fall more than 2 inches the force of which may be regulated at pleasure, and the fly is not obliged as in other power looms to go to a certain place, but will go just as far as till it meets with the proper resistance as in hand weaving. The proof it must depend on the saving of wages, which in linen makes a large proportion of the value of the cloth. Although power looms have been successfully applied to Cotton, no one has yet made them answer well for linen.

You will find 2 papers on Watchmens checks in Thompsonês Annals for December 1815 and February 1816. Should not Mr Silvester send a short notice to Dr Thompson? _

Mrs Bage desires to be kindly remembered to you and your young Ladies and to those of Mr I Shott.

I am Dear Sir

yours very sincerely

Charles Bage

July 14 1816


I should much wish to know your view of the present state and prospects of this flourishing Country. Nobody here seems capable of devising any plan for the employment of the many thousands that have nothing to do and consequently no bread to eat. _