John Adam Eckfeldt ( June 15, 1769 – February 6, 1852 ) was a worker and official in the early days of the United States Mint. A lifelong Philadelphian, Eckfeldt served as the second gear headman coiner of the Mint, from 1814 until 1839. Eckfeldt ‘s father owned a large forge and involved himself in early attempts at american neologism. Adam Eckfeldt built early on presses for the Mint, engraved some of its early dies, and was responsible for the designs of early american copper neologism, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as the 1792 half disme which some authorities consider the first United States coin. He was appointed assistant coiner of the Mint in 1796, and became headman coiner on his predecessor ‘s death in 1814.
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Eckfeldt served a draw hundred as chief coiner, during which time the Philadelphia Mint moved to new premises. As he set aside strange coins brought in as bullion, he started the Mint ‘s mint cabinet, which evolved into the National Numismatic Collection. even after his 1839 retirement, Eckfeldt continued to perform the duties of foreman coiner ; his death in 1852 caused his refilling, Franklin Peale, to seek an assistant .
early animation [edit ]
John Adam Eckfeldt was born in Philadelphia on June 15, 1769, the son of John Jacob Eckfeldt, a large-scale manufacturer of edge-tools and implements. At the time, it was common for those of german descent to bear the first name “ John ” but be referred to by middle name. The elder Eckfeldt and his wife Maria Magdalena had immigrated from Nuremberg, Bavaria, around 1764. John Jacob Eckfeldt, in his big forge, made dies for the 1783 coinage under the Articles of Confederation authorized by Philadelphia financier Robert Morris. Adam was his forefather ‘s apprentice, and became skilled in iron make and machinery .
Coin architect and Mint official [edit ]
Inspecting the First Coins by John Dunsmore. Eckfeldt is dressed in blue, just to the right of the seated by John Dunsmore. Eckfeldt is dressed in blue, fair to the veracious of the seated Martha Washington During Eckfeldt ‘s childhood, the thirteen british colonies along the Atlantic slide of what is now the United States revolted, and so the United States of America secured its independence. After the United States Constitution was ratified, Congress and many government offices came to be housed in Philadelphia, including the newborn Mint of the United States. Adam Eckfeldt built the beginning screw press for the newly facility in 1792, the lapp year that the Mint Act of 1792 was passed by Congress authorizing a mint, and cut the obverse die for the experimental Birch penny of that class. He besides built other machinery for the Mint, and helped superintend the early mint .
Eckfeldt ‘s 1792 bid, displayed beneath the Dunsmore painting depicting him In 1792, the Mint acquired three balances from Eckfeldt, who besides lent the Mint his lathe ( used for turning dies ). Eckfeldt is believed to have made the die from which the 1792 half disme, considered by some the beginning official U.S. coin, was struck—in 1829, a visitor to the Mint met Eckfeldt and late described him as “ an artist [ who ] made the first gear die used in it ”. early former accounts document Eckfeldt ‘s function in this strike : an 1863 auction sold a half disme purportedly given by Eckfeldt to demonstrate his work. Eckfeldt is given as the source for the custom that the half dismes were struck at the request of President George Washington to be used as presents. Eckfeldt operated his screw press to strike these roughly 1,500 pieces on July 13, 1792. Since the first Philadelphia Mint was still under construction at the prison term, these coins were produced in the basement of John Harper, examine maker, at Sixth and Cherry Streets in Philadelphia. In his annual message to Congress belated that class, Washington noted the ongoing structure of a mint build up and stated : “ There has besides been a small begin in the neologism of half dismes, the desire of small coins in circulation calling the beginning attention to them. ”
The obverse of the 1792 half disme Eckfeldt besides produced a blueprint disme, of which alone a few were struck. When the Mint ‘s first base cents ( produced in 1793 ) were found to be excessively crude and attract public ridicule, Eckfeldt was called upon to design replacements. He placed a wreath on the back of the cent rather of the master chain, and placed a clover under Liberty ‘s head on the obverse. He besides engraved the first half penny dies later the same year. Eckfeldt continued to work intermittently for the Philadelphia Mint ; in 1793, he built a device for mechanically feeding planchets into the fail collar and ejecting the hit coins, and the mint ‘s records reveal that he did piecework there in July 1795. By October 1795 he was on the mint ‘s payroll, as a die forger and turner, at a wage of $ 500 per year. On January 1, 1796, Mint Director Elias Boudinot appointed him as adjunct coiner, with the consent of President Washington. His duties in that capacity were broad. In 1805, at Boudinot ‘s request, Eckfeldt eliminated a security trouble for the Mint by renting two houses adjacent to its operations, allowing it to shut an internal alley to public access. The following year, newly Mint Director Robert Patterson requested a pay increase of $ 200 for Eckfeldt, writing to President Thomas Jefferson that Eckfeldt had “ the management of the whole coin department ”. When the dies used proved excessively brittle and cracked well, Eckfeldt came up with the estimate of spraying water on the confront of the die so the steel would temper evenly. As a boy, inventor George Escol Sellers knew Eckfeldt ; as Sellers ‘s forefather was partner in a firm which sold machinery to the Mint Bureau, Eckfeldt often dined at his house. In the final years both of the nineteenth century and of Sellers ‘s life, he published his memoirs, including memories of the first Philadelphia Mint. He recalled in 1812 peering through a window to see cents coined, and Eckfeldt coming into the room to stop the shape at the end of the day. Seeing the young Sellers, he had the boy arrive in, had him place a cent planchet on the press, and struck it for him. Sellers about dropped it because it was so hot, and Eckfeldt reminded him it had been cold when placed in the press. Eckfeldt bade him keep the coin until he learned why the penny had become hot, and then he could spend it on sugarcoat.
Chief coiner [edit ]
Silver replica of retirement decoration for Eckfeldt, by Moritz Fuerst On the end of the first head coiner, Henry Voigt, in early 1814, Eckfeldt was appointed by President James Madison as successor. He served in that capacity for a quarter hundred. During his tenure, he continued to improve the machinery at the Philadelphia Mint. Eckfeldt set digression “ victor coins ” —coins struck with extra care using fresh dies and polished planchets. He besides put away interest foreign coins sent to the batch as bullion. These pieces became the Mint ‘s Cabinet, or coin collection. To fill gaps in this collection, he used old dies to strike postdate coins. Specialists have discovered that some dies he chose for this aim had not been used together to strike coins for commerce, thus creating unique specimens. Among the pieces acquired for the Mint was a Brasher doubloon, of which only six are known today. Eckfeldt frequently spent from his own funds to acquire the coins for the Mint. The solicitation finally evolved into the Smithsonian Institution ‘s National Numismatic Collection. In 1828, Eckfeldt again became involved in the very estate of the realm transactions to expand operations at the Philadelphia Mint. For $ 1,000, he purchased one of the lots he had rented in 1805. After the mint moved to modern premises in the 1830s, Eckfeldt discovered that the bunch he had purchased had a obscure, or constipation, on its title ; he was able to clear it and sold it in 1837 for the lapp sum for which he had bought it. The new mint build was at Juniper and Chestnut Streets, merely six blocks from Eckfeldt ‘s home at Juniper and Vine. Sellers, in his memoirs, described Eckfeldt as “ a man of steadfast integrity, a cautious, careful, orderly and painstaking man ; he was not one of the daunt, pushing, imaginative mechanics, though under his caution many obviously slight improvements were gradually adopted that in the aggregate amounted to a great deal in the economy of working. He was by no means insufficient in imaginative ability. ” however, as Eckfeldt aged in the service of the Mint in the late 1820s and into the 1830s, he was loath to adopt the innovations being proposed by his colleague Mint officer, Melter and Refiner Franklin Peale. Peale, like Eckfeldt of a mechanical deflect, had many suggestions for improvements to the coinage machinery, some of which Eckfeldt adopted. Eckfeldt stated to Sellers, “ If Mr. Peale had wax dangle he would turn everything top devour ”. According to Sellers, “ the giving up of about life-long pets that had been Mr. Eckfeldt ‘s ceaseless care would naturally go hard, and still harder coming from another department, but as improvements gradually crept in and proved their efficiency Mr. Eckfeldt gave full recognition where it belonged, and I remember him becoming quite enthusiastic over the undertaking saving [ in the manipulation of the Contamin portrayal lathe ] in duplicating working dies ” .
The actual gold decoration presented to Eckfeldt in 1839 In 1833, Peale was sent on a go of european mints and came home with ideas for modern machines and innovations, including the presentation of steam world power, used at Britain ‘s Royal Mint since 1810 on equipment purchased from the tauten of Boulton & Watt. [ 27 ] Although Eckfeldt would have preferred to apply steam to the existing coin presses, a new one was built for steam power, and commemorative medals were the first pieces struck by steam at the Philadelphia Mint, in early on 1836. In 1839, Eckfeldt retired after 25 years as foreman coiner and over forty as a Mint employee. His fellow officers at the Mint presented him with a gold decoration, with silver and bronze duplicates besides struck. The obverse was designed by Philadelphia engraver Moritz Fuerst, who sometimes did work for the Mint ; the reverse may be by Fuerst or by Peale. Eckfeldt recommended Peale as his successor, and Peale was appointed. Nevertheless, Eckfeldt continued to perform the functions of chief coiner without wage until a few days before his death on February 6, 1852. After Eckfeldt ‘s death, Peale wrote what Taxay terms a “ frantic letter ” to Mint Director George N. Eckert, seeking the date of an assistant. Peale had spent the freed-up time designing and selling medals for individual gain .
private and family life [edit ]
reversion of Eckfeldt retirement decoration Eckfeldt married twice. No children were born of his brief first marriage in 1792 to Maria Hahn, which ended with her death ; his second marriage to Margaretta Bausch produced six children. Among them were his daughter Susanna, who married William Ewing DuBois, first gear curator of the Mint ‘s coin collection. Jacob Reese Eckfeldt, one of Adam ‘s sons, was for forty years ( 1832–1872 ) assayer of the United States Mint. Jacob ‘s son Jacob Branch Eckfeldt exceeded both forebears in prison term of service, working at the Mint for 64 years, from 1865 to 1929.
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Adam Eckfeldt had a taste for gardening and own rural place in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, which was inherited by his two sons after his death. He was the first president of the Good Will Fire Company, holding that function for about all of his pornographic life, and designed a system of levers for manipulation in fire engines. A member of Concordia Lodge No. 67 of the Masonic order from 1795 to 1806, he served as lodge master in 1803 ; a chinese export porcelain punch roll with his appoint and Masonic symbols survives in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A biographic sketch of Eckfeldt, published in 1897, describes him :
He was a man of large data on many subjects, possessed an imaginative flair, and was enabled to introduce some excellent improvements in minting processes. He was singularly energetic and energetic, and for his sociable qualities and uprightness was universally respected, and, indeed, beloved by the officers associated with him and the elongated circle of his acquaintance .
References [edit ]
signature foliate from letter presented to Eckfeldt on his retirement, signed by Patterson, Peale, Jacob Eckfeldt, Christian Gobrecht and early Mint officers and employees