This plate-warmer is one of a pair that George Washington purchased from the New York merchants Berry & Rogers in 1790. As its name implies, it was used to heat plates prior to a meal, thus enabling diners to enjoy their food without it quickly going cold. When its open back was placed in front of a fire in the dining room, the central box of tinned sheet iron created an oven-like environment that warmed the plates stacked on the shelves within. Its exterior was originally japanned (varnished) with a sleek black finish.


Japanned plate warmer constructed of sheet iron with copper alloy handle on top, a door on the front and open back; the principal box of the plate warmer is constructed from four sheets of sheet iron; two equally spaced shelves are placed inside the box; four strips of sheet iron line the opening on the front, and a hinged door of sheet iron is bolted to the proper left side; a tab handle is inserted through a hole in the door at the center of the proper right sides and the tail pieces on the inside are used to hold the door shut; on the back, two vertical iron rods are held in place by U-shaped pins that fit into pockets soldered underneath the top, shelves, and bottom of the box; two legs of wrought iron with slipper feet are riveted to the base and sides of the box at the back, and two legs of wrought iron with slipper feet are riveted to the base and front of the box at front; a cast brass handle with beading around the edges of the mounts is screwed to the center top of the box.

see also 56-111 Previous MVLA number






Sheet iron, japanning, wrought iron, copper alloy


Overall: 26 1/4 in. x 13 1/2 in. x 9 1/2 in. (66.68 cm x 34.29 cm x 24.13 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of G. Freeland Peter, Jr., 1956

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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