George Washington preferred a style of dining that allowed his guests to help themselves to food and drink. Anticipating large presidential entertainments, he ordered twelve wine coolers from England in October 1789. Eight two-bottle coolers were for serving Madeira and claret during the meal, while "four quadruple coolers" were for after dinner use. When the articles finally arrived in Philadelphia the following year, Washington complained that the extreme weight of the four-bottle coolers made them "too unwieldy to pass; especially by Ladies." As a result, by the time he left office, he had only used two of them. He brought these, along with four of the two-bottle coolers, to Mount Vernon. The rest, including this four-bottle example, he presented as gifts.


Elliptical wine cooler of fused silverplate on copper composed of a basin and removable lid; raised bombé basin with cornice and applied, cove molded foot; lion's mask and ring handles on each short side; four short conical projections with flat tops sitting on flattened knops in interior of well, arranged to correspond to the center of the four openings of the lid; removable lid with four circular openings; each of the openings is surrounded by a pierced, reeded collar above and a plain plated collar below the surface of the lid; four cylindrical of baskets constructed of silver wire with a short cylinder projecting from their center base, are mounted on the projections inside the basin and kept in place by the lower collars of the lid; each basket is composed of a silver wire base and top rim united by loops of silver wire; the base of each basket is composed of seven loops of wire arranged like flower petals around the top of a short cylinder at their center.





Fused silverplate on copper, silver


Overall (H x W x D): 10 1/8 in. x 16 9/16 in. x 12 in. (25.73 cm x 42.06 cm x 30.48 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Edith McHenry, 1972

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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