Thomas Jefferson: Inventor

Diplomat, politician, writer, gardener, president, philosopher, jurist, and
architect are just a few of the honorable titles achieved by Thomas Jefferson
during his lifetime. However, one title that many people forget when thinking of
the third President of the United States, is inventor. Jefferson had a passion for
creating things that could be used by the average person in order to make life
just a little bit easier. Jefferson was very interested in agriculture, in fact, he
hoped to create a society based around agriculture during his presidency. As a
planter, he knewfirst hand what it was like to plow with a standard wooden plow.
Thedifficulty of this task caused him, with the help of his son-in-law, to create
iron and mould board plows that would help prevent soil erosion and make
hillside plowing easier and more efficient. Among the many genius inventions
created by Thomas Jefferson is the cipher wheel. This wheel consisted of
twenty-six cylindrical wooden pieces with the letters of the alphabet inscribed on
each wheel in random order. As the wheel turned, the letters would scramble
and unscramble, but the only way to decode the message was to have the
matching wheel. This invention was widely used in World War I by the US Army
in order to send and receive messages without interpretation by the enemy.
Some of his inventions had no meaningful purpose except for his own personal
pleasure. For example, Jefferson invented a revolving bookstand that could hold
five books all capable of being reached at any time. In 1804, Jefferson created
"automatic" double-doors. The doors were controlled by an operating
mechanism that allowed both doors to move when one was opened or closed. Of
all of Jefferson's inventions, the most visible was the Great Clock. Although it
had no minute hand, the hour hand was capable of providing the needed
accuracy for time as well as the date. Je…

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