The most important piece of fire-fighting equipment from the seventeenth to early nineteenth centuries was a leather fire bucket. Standard-size buckets, such as the six George Washington purchased for $19 from Philadelphia saddler and retailer William Jones on March 10, 1797, held approximately 2 ½ to 3 gallons of water or sand. Philadelphia's shoemakers crafted many of that city's buckets, which exhibit less decoration than their New England counterparts. Washington's, neatly emblazoned with his name, are typical examples. At Mount Vernon, the buckets stood ready for use in the first-floor servants' hall; and they have never left the estate. These incredibly rare survivals powerfully remind us of the very serious threat fires were to life and livelihood in the eighteenth century. More

Date

1797


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Leather, paint, hemp, possibly linen (thread), iron


Dimensions

Overall: 13 in. x 9 in. (33.02 cm x 22.86 cm)
Overall (Height of bucket): 13 in. (33.02 cm)
Overall (Diameter of rim): 8 in. (20.32 cm)
Overall (Diameter of foot): 6 1/4 in. (15.88 cm)


Credit

Transferred to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association through the generosity of John Augustine Washington III, 1860


Marks

Stamped on underside (beneath seam at rear): "P·ABEL"


Object Number

W-403/B


Colors


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.
Buy Tickets What to See Calendar Shop Restaurant Donate Membership
Estate Hours

Open today from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save