George Washington thoughtfully installed outdoor privies, or "necessaries," for the daytime use of Mount Vernon residents and visitors. At night, they utilized chamber pots located in private and public rooms alike. Those who were sick, infirm, or bedridden, however, relieved themselves in specialized containers called bed pans. This example, likely used by the Washingtons, exemplifies their purpose. Its metal body, short handle, and shallow walls allowed it to be warmed and neatly slipped in-between the bed clothes, thus ensuring the user was not unnecessarily exposed to cold air. More








Overall (H x W x D): 4 in. x 16 1/2 in. x 12 1/8 in. (10.16 cm x 41.91 cm x 30.8 cm)


Purchase, 1939


Six marks on the reverse of the chamber pot: Touchmark, or maker's mark, in a vertically-oriented oval containing a rose and crown flanked by the letters "N" and "Y", the whole is encapsulated by two scrolls, the top scroll bears the letters "eder" and the bottom scroll reads "asset"; Touchmark, or maker's mark, in a fan-shaped field, the bottom features the profile of a blooming flower surmounted by two bordered scrolls containing the words "F. Bassett" and "New.Yor"; Hallmark, depicting a lion rampant within a shield; Hallmark, depicting the port side of a ship within a shield; Hallmark, depicting a set of scales within a shield; Hallmark, featuring the initials "FB", a small fleur-de-lis rests above and below the initials, the whole is set within a shield.

Object Number



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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