Travels Through North America, during the years 1825 and 1826
By His Highness,
Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach
A high square pyramidal tower attracted our attention ; it is a shot-tower, one hundred and sixty-six feet high. The melted lead, which is thrown through a tin box, whose apertures are suited to the size of shot wanting, falls from the whole height into water; while falling it forms itself into shot and becomes cold as it falls in the water. The different numbers of shot are intermixed; in order to separate the perfect from the imperfect shot, they put them in a flat basin, and by a certain motion in an oblique direction, the perfectly round ones roll down into a receiver, whilst the imperfect remain in the basin. After this they throw the good shot into a box of the shape of a bureau, with rockers like a cradle; the drawers have perforated tin bottoms, the upper drawer has the largest holes, and the lower the smallest; when the upper drawer is filled with shot, it is locked, and then the whole box is rocked for some minutes. Through this the shot is separated according to the size, and I believe there are fourteen different numbers. In order to give the shot a perfectly smooth surface, they throw it into a box which is attached to a wheel turned by water, and in this manner they are rolled for some time. They are then packed according to their number, in bags, and carried into the warehouse.
In front of the state house, whose lower floor is used as a court room, we saw a great assemblage of people; we heard it was the election of the common council. This state house is remarkable in an historical point of view, as being the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed, on the 4th of July, 1776, and in which the first Congress assembled, until its removal to Washington City. From the public houses in the vicinity, flags were displayed, to give notice what political party assembled there; hand-bills were sent all over town into the houses, to invite votes. From the tenor of these bills one might have concluded that the city was in great danger. The election, however, to our exceeding astonishment, passed over very peaceably.
The Bank of the United States, which is situated in Chestnut street, is the handsomest building that I have yet beheld in this country; it is built of white marble, after the model of the Parthenon at Athens; its entrance is decorated by eight Doric columns, and large broad steps. White marble is very common here; the steps of most houses are made of it. The railings are generally of iron with bright brass knobs ; even on the scrapers at the doors I observed these bright brass knobs. The private houses are generally built of brick, the kitchens, &c. are commonly in the cellar. I observed here a very good contrivance, which I also remarked in various cities of the United States, that there are openings through the foot-pavement, covered by a locked iron grate, which serves to throw wood, coal, &c. in the cellar, so that they need not be carried through the houses.