George Washington's own experience with dental disease prompted him to encourage his grandchildren, Nelly and Washy Custis, to maintain good oral health. He regularly purchased tooth brushes, tooth powder, and mouthwash for his young charges. In addition, Washington may have procured sets of dental instruments, such as this set of Scalers, to be used on his family by visiting surgeon-dentists. Scalers were used to scrape or "scale off" built-up tartar on teeth. Although it is missing two instruments, the ten-piece set illustrates that each implement was shaped for a different area of dentition to ensure a thorough cleaning.

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Date

c. 1790-1802


Geography


Material/Technique

A: Wood, brass, iron, cotton velvet B: Steel, ivory C: Steel, ivory D: Steel, ivory E: Steel, ivory F: Steel, ivory G: Steel, ivory H: Steel, ivory I: Steel, ivory


Dimensions

Overall (A: open): 11/16 in. x 8 7/16 in. x 6 1/8 in. (1.73 cm x 21.44 cm x 15.57 cm)
Other (A: closed): 3/16 in. x 4 1/4 in. x 6 1/8 in. (0.51 cm x 10.72 cm x 15.57 cm)
Other (B): 4 11/16 in. x 3/8 in. (11.91 cm x 0.97 cm)
Other (C): 4 9/16 in. x 3/8 in. (11.58 cm x 0.97 cm)
Other (D): 4 11/16 in. x 3/8 in. (11.91 cm x 0.97 cm)
Other (E): 4 1/16 in. x 3/8 in. (10.31 cm x 0.97 cm)
Other (F): 4 9/16 in. x 3/8 in. (11.58 cm x 0.97 cm)
Other (G): 5 in. x 3/8 in. (12.7 cm x 0.97 cm)
Other (H): 4 13/16 in. x 3/8 in. (12.22 cm x 0.97 cm)
Other (I): 4 3/4 in. x 3/8 in. (12.07 cm x 0.97 cm)


Credit

Gift of Mary Mildred Sullivan and her son, George Hammond Sullivan, 1917


Object Number

W-595/A-I


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.
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