Three Letters from Moritz Pinner to Benjamin S. Hedrick (1875-1877)

Placed on the web: Sept. 3, 2002.


These three letters, that I recently bought in eBay (after the seller, peanuts4ever, kindly contacted me), were written in 1875 and 1877, and addressed to Benjamin S. Hedrick, a fellow abolitionist, who was fired from his position as Professor of Chemistry in 1856 from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for his antislavery views. In April 1861 he got a position in the US Patent Office that he held until his death in 1886. For more information about Benjamin S. Hedrick (and his family, in particular his younger brother John), see the fascinating book "Letters from a North Carolina Unionist: John A. Hedrick to Benjamin S. Hedrick, 1862-1865" edited by Judkin Browning and Michael Thomas Smith, published by the Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Raleigh, 2001. In particular, read the excellent introduction written by the editors.

The Letter Dated Jan. 10, 1874 (but probably written Jan. 10, 1875) from Moritz Pinner to Benjamin S. Hedrick

Note: I am almost sure that Moritz Pinner entered the wrong year, because of the reference to his youngest son (Rogers A.), who was then 5 months old, and was born in 1874.

                                        No. 162 Broadway
                                        New York Jan. 10 1874.

    Friend Hedrick,

                    A happy New
Year, though long after the time, as
Happiness, ye know, is always acceptable.
How are you old B'hay, and how is the
family? To the extent- to which I knowingly
can boast of a family, mine is well,
and my youngest son, nearly 5 months
old, is growing finely, though not in looks
nor in musical tunes either.
  Poor Helper, with Bolivia on the brain,
Sent me a copy of his grievances, may
he at least succeed. Perfidious Albion,
Bolivia I mean. ____
  Night before last, a Rectifier here
happened to sit alongside of me in the car,
and remembering my face commenced
conversation, telling me among other,
that he has done away with rectifying
with coal and does it now with chemicals.

When I told him of my Begnet Patent, I
suppose he wished  he had not been
quite so communicative. To-day I visited
his establishment, producing my Patent,
whereupon J. A. Bernheimer, the partner
of M. R. Cook (firm: Cook and Bernheimer 67 New
Str. N.Y.) claimed to be a Chemist, who uses
chemicals of his own discovery in this
process, which he supposes as old as the 
hills, - probably by comparison, as Bernheimer
is only 26 to 28 years old. - Not having
named in our Claim the kind of chemicals
we use, Bernheimer supposes we may claim
the use of coal, sand etc. as well, and 
wanted to know what constitutes "chemicals".
  I have a great notion to pitch into that
firm, as they poo-pooed the thing too much.
Have you ever heard of the use of chemicals
in a column for rectifying purposes before Begnet's?
Has Bernheimer or anyone else a Patent for using par-
ticular chemicals or quantities since Begnet's?
As I am somewhat out of the business, what
shortest process with that firm would you suggest?
Begnet's Pat:61388- Jan:22 '67. Pray write soon,
and salute Helper and your fami.       Yours- M. Pinner

The Letter Dated May 12, 1875 from Moritz Pinner to Benjamin S. Hedrick

                                         No 111 Broadway - Room 91
                                         New York May 12, 1875

      Friend Hedrick,
                        A few days ago
Schoenhof told me that you intend to
be here towards the end of this month,
and I would advise you to come a little
sooner if possible, so as to see our
Cherry trees in blossom, and if you have
any decency at all about you, or any
taste for good cherries (not Sherry) which 
is the same, - you could manage to
hang around until the cherries are
ripe, - and you know that don't take long.
 I promise not to surprise you a
third time with a new baby, and my
better half joins in my request and promise.
    Have you had any access to the Genrl. Land
Office, and could you get me any information
(and if so the fullest possible) concerning Grant
No. 28 in New Mexico? All well. Yours
                               M. Pinner

The Letter Dated Dec. 6, 1877 from Moritz Pinner to Benjamin S. Hedrick

                                  No. 206 Broadway
                                  New York Dec. 6,

        Friend Hedrick,
                Some 2 months ago
I wrote to you, requesting you to please
send me a copy of Barff's Anti-Cor-
rosion Patent (of Sept. 12 1876) and
four weeks ago I wrote to you
once more on the subject, but have
no reply yet to either letter or Postal.
 I suppose you were off on a
summer vacation and dismissed the
thing from your mind, but as friend
McIntire tells me that he saw you
in Washington some 10 days ago
I now renew my request and pray
for early answer. Please state also
whether Barff's and De Bussign's Patent
collide or are at all identical. --
All well with us, with you and yours too
I hope. Were you too burnt out?
                       Cordially Yours,

Moritz Pinner.

Doron Zeilberger's Family.