Saucepans of copper were commonly found in well-stocked kitchens of the eighteenth-century elite. They ranged in volume from one pint to four gallons and were used to sweat small groups of ingredients for the making of rich butter-based sauces. This 2-gallon tin-lined vessel was likely one of the three copper saucepans listed in George Washington's estate inventory. Its utility carried into the next generation, as Martha Parke Custis' husband, Thomas Peter, purchased it from the sale of Martha Washington's estate in 1802. The saucepan was returned to Mount Vernon in 1991 by a Peter descendant.


Flat bottomed, bulbous, copper saucepan. The vessel is made of two sheets of copper, one for the body and another for the bottom, which are dovetailed together and brazed. To help maintain the shape and stability of the walls the lip was curled over an iron bar. Resting beneath the lip, centered over the wall seam, is a hand forged tubular iron handle socket and bracket that is held to the body with three copper rivets. The interior is tinned.

Flat-stepped, round, copper lid with handle. The lid is made from a single copper sheet that has been hammered to produce a flat top with a stepped lip that is folded onto itself to create a recess allowing it to fit into the mouth of the saucepan. The handle is also made from sheet copper that was cut into shape and secured to the lid with two copper rivets, only one of which survives. The interior is tinned.





Copper, tin, iron


Overall (A): 7 5/8 in. x 10 in. x 10 in. (19.38 cm x 25.4 cm x 25.4 cm)
Overall (B): 2 in. x 10 3/4 in. x 10 3/4 in. (5.08 cm x 27.31 cm x 27.31 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of G. Freeland Peter, Jr., 1991

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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