George Washington's purchases while he was attending the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia anticipated his return to military duty. This razor case may be the "Travelling razor case ?2" he bought in May 1775. Painted with mahogany graining, the box is outfitted with a mirror, a removable tray for razors, strop, and hone, and compartments for toilet supplies such as cologne and powder. Cushions covered in watered silk and lined with metallic braid helped secure its contents while in transit. The elegant case enabled the maintenance of a civilized routine amidst the rigors of life on campaign.

Description

Rectangular, painted wooden box with lock and bail handle; lid, supported on a folding iron hinge, opens to reveal a compartmentalized interior; on the proper right side, a rectangular compartment runs from front to back, subdivided by wooden partitions into four smaller square compartments; a flat wooden panel, hinged to the case on the exterior wall, covers the compartment on the proper left side and is held in place with two copper alloy tabs that pivot on iron screws mounted to the back and front walls of the case; a cushion covered in blue-green watered silk and edged with a narrow yellow silk and metallic braid is mounted to the underside of this panel; the panel lifts to reveal a large compartment lined in faded blue-green paper; this compartment is subdivided into a narrow rectangular compartment at the back, and a nearly square compartment at the front; within the large compartment is a removable tray, subdivided into ten narrow slots, and covered in the same blue-green paper as the rest of the compartment; a tab of blue-green silk is attached to the proper right side of the tray; the lid of the box is recessed on the interior; a narrow compartment on the proper right side is filled with a cushion constructed of blue-green silk and fiber wadding; the large compartment on the proper left side is filled with a thick piece of mirrored glass with rough edges held in place by copper alloy tabs; a thick wad of folded paper is inserted behind the mirror; the interior of the lid is edged with a narrow yellow silk and metallic braid; the exterior of the case exhibits a grained finish in imitation of mahogany, with a black or brown border painted on the edges of each side, except those which adjoin the back of the case; the oval lock plate and hasp are missing from the front of the case; the letters "G" and "W" are painted in gold script on either side of the bail handle on the top of the case.

Date

c. 1775


Geography


Material/Technique

Mahogany, paint, brass, iron, glass, silk, metallic braid, paper


Dimensions

Overall: 3 1/2 in. x 9 3/8 in. x 6 7/8 in. (8.89 cm x 23.83 cm x 17.48 cm)


Credit Line

Purchase, 1915


Marks

In gold paint on the lid, on either side of the bail handle: "G" and "W".


Object Number

W-481


Colors (Beta)


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