This diminutive dessert fork was once used by the Washingtons and their guests to sample the sweetmeats, candied fruits, and puddings that constituted the final course at a formal dinner. Conspicuously engraved with the Washington crest, it was among the "2 Setts best Silver handle Knives & Forks best London Blades" sent to George Washington by his London agent in 1757. Washington's investment in specialized services of flatware demonstrated luxury at a time when the possession of a fork of any material was a sign of aspiring gentility, and enabled him to confidently entertain members of the colonial Virginia elite.


Pistol handled fork with three steel tines and silver handle; three steel tines rise from a baluster form shaft with flared collar that is inserted into the handle; silver handle with ribbed sides terminating in a volute covered with an acanthus leaf; butt of the handle is engraved with the Washington crest, a winged griffin rising from a ducal coronet.






Silver, steel


Overall (H x W x D): 6 1/2 in. x 7/8 in. x 7/8 in. (16.51 cm x 2.22 cm x 2.24 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. William Henry Brown, 1891


Stamped near the head of the handle on the obverse: an obscured mark, probably of the lion passant.

Stamped near the head of the handle on the reverse: an almost entirely obscured mark.

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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