As president, George Washington regularly held formal dinners at his executive residence. Such occasions were marked by carefully selected tablewares purchased by Congress. They included elegant ivory- and silver-handled cutlery and flatware. Although the presidential service was probably sold at a 1797 public auction, this similar set, possibly owned by the family of Washington's friend and colleague, Samuel Powel, serves to illustrate the splendor of his table.
See also dinner knives, M-3437/1-4, 6-16, M-3558/3-21, and M-4100/7-12; dinner forks, M-3437/27-42, M-3558/26-47, and M-4100/1-6; dessert knives, M-3437/17-23 and M-3558/22-25; dessert knife blade, M-3437/24; dessert forks, M-3437/43-53 and M-3558/48-59; carving forks, M-3437/25 and M-3558/2; carving knife, M-3558/1, and silver caps, M-3437/54-56.
Dinner fork with three steel tines rising from a baluster-form shaft and flared silver collar set into spiral-fluted ivory handle; silver end cap engraved with the Powel family crest, an eight-pointed star nestled in a crescent of clouds issuing from a wreath.
Ivory, steel, silver
Overall (H x W x D): 8 15/16 in. x 3/4 in. x 1/2 in. (22.7 cm x 1.91 cm x 1.27 cm)
Gift of Adelaide Hare Powel Bitting and Mrs. Richard Alexander, Vice Regent for Rhode Island, 1991
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