Clothes Rack

Conjectural drawing of Jefferson's clothes rackClaims that Thomas Jefferson invented the clothes hanger are unfounded, although he did have a "convenient contrivance" for hanging clothes in his closet at Monticello. We no longer have such a contrivance at Monticello, but descriptions remain from Jefferson's contemporaries. His grandson-in-law called it a "turning-machine." Another guest reported: "In a recess at the foot of the bed was a horse with forty-eight projecting hands on which hung his coats and waistcoats and which he could turn round with a long stick; a knick-knack that Jefferson was fond of showing with many other little mechanical inventions."[1] Based on these descriptions, the conjectural drawing at right shows what we believe this device would have looked like.

Footnotes

  1. Davis, Richard Beale, ed., Jeffersonian America: Notes on the United States of American Collected in the Years 1805-6-7 and 11-12 by Sir Augustus John Foster, Bart. (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1954), 144.

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