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Petition of Oswell Eve to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety


To the Honourable the Committee of Safety for the Province of PENNSYLVANIA.

The Petition of OSWELL EVE, of FRANKFORD, in the Township of OXFORD, and Province of PENNSYLVANIA, humbly showeth:

That your Petitioner some time ago, at great expense, erected a Powder-Mill in this Province, with a view of carrying on that useful manufactory; and spent much time in inventing machines and making experiments for bringing that branch of business to perfection, which he apprehends he had in a great measure accomplished, so as to establish the making of powder in this Province, which had not been carried on to any extent before.

That the present situation of America requiring a greater supply of that article, he was employed by the honourable Congress and the Committee of Safety, to work up part of the saltpetre imported by them and made here, which induced him to extend his works at a very great additional expense. That, by employing his whole time and study therein, he has invented and carried into execution works for graining powder, and for other parts of manufacturing the same, which are put in motion by water, (which is not done in any part of Europe,) and by which not only many hands may be saved in carrying on the same, but that it can be completed with much more expedition and safety than in any other mill.

Also, that he has, by different experiments, improved the refining of saltpetre and sulphur, and has brought the whole to perfection; and is now making upwards of twenty-two hundred weight of powder per week.

That he has at all times shown his works and many of his improvements to such gentlemen as came from different Colonies to view the same, which has contributed to promote the erecting a number of powder-mills; therefore, as the expense which he has been at will not, for a considerable time, be compensated by the profits of his mill; and as other manufactories, of less publick utility than this is at present, have met with publick encouragement, he humbly proposes to make known to the honourable Congress or Committee of Safety, or such persons as they shall appoint, his whole art of making powder, and different improvements in the mill, not doubting that they will grant him an adequate reward for having brought to perfection the said manufactory in the most safe and expeditious manner.

All which he submits to the consideration of your honourable Board, either to recommend his case to Congress, or to grant him such compensation as you may think proper.


Frankford, March 22, 1776.