Letter from G R Smalley, 3 July 1866

Letter from G R Smalley, 3 July 1866

July 3 6


I shall feel much obliged if you will furnish me on behalf of this Department, with the one hundred and fifty yards (150 yds) of Gutta Percha and Copper Wire of the best quality, and of the same size as the enclosed sample – for the Public Service.

I have the honor to be
Your obedient servant
George R Smalley

Messrs Samuel


2 responses to “Letter from G R Smalley, 3 July 1866

  • Hi Bob

    I’ve now amended the transcription thanks to your information which is much appreciated. It’s advice like yours that helps us to make this resource even better.


  • “Gutter Perch ??” would actually be Gutta Percha, which is a rubbery-like substance derived from the latex of certain trees.

    It was used in the 19th century prior to the widespread use of the type of rubber we know today.

    In relation to Mr. Smalley’s request here, it would have been used either as insulation for electrical conductive wires such as the copper he also requests, or as a sealant.

    Given the way Mr. Smalley has requested “… Gutta Percha and copper wire …” he may actually be asking for copper wire which has been jackted in the Gutta Percha.

    Learn more about Gutta Percha here:


    There are many specimins of Gutta percha in the Powerhouse Musuem collection, and here is one example:


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