Alcoholic beverages were an important part of daily life for people from all levels of society in eighteenth century. Travelers and newcomers to the region often commented upon the abundance and variety of alcoholic beverages served and consumed. Local inhabitants also provide clues to the importance of such beverages in the rituals of entertaining and hospitality.
Philip Fithian, tutor to the children of Robert Carter at Nomini Hall, often listed the variety of beverages provided at the diverse meals and entertainments he attended. At a dinner served to a mixed company of two women and seven men, the beverages offered included "good Porter-Beer, Cyder, Rum & Brandy Toddy.” On another occasion, at a dinner which was part of neighbor's ball, the range of beverages included "several sorts of Wine, good Lemon Punch, Toddy, Porter &c.” Fithian provides some explanation of how these beverages were consumed by describing the toasting ritual which followed the meals in many elite households. In recording his toast to the young woman he had left behind in New Jersey he wrote, "I drank her Health from my Heart in generous Medaira [sic]— Yes, best of Women, when you are the Toast I drink wine with Pleasure-.” He wrote of being informed by Robert Carter that among the staple goods consumed on the plantation in the course of a year were “4 Hogsheads of Rum & 150 Gallons of Brandy.”(1)
Planter Landon Carter, in recording in his diary the real or imagined slights and difficulties of his personal life, provided insights into what an important component alcoholic beverages were in the dispensing of hospitality in elite households. In 1776, apparently already feeling the pinch of war-time conditions, Carter records the perceived abuse of his hospitality by his son and “the ill manners of those who are gentlemen.” He felt that he was rudely used for not offering wine. He wrote in his diary:
I have been glad to treat all who came to see me as well as I possibly could; but through the difficulty of the times wine could not be got in the same plenty as usual. I gave as much toddy, beer, and Cyder as could be drunk and I believe the quantity used will shew it to be a full plenty. Besides this, that the house might not be quite without wine, an article certainly necessary in every family, especially where Children and women and an old man like myself are, I only allowed one bottle after dinner, and now and then on any extraordinary [occasion] I went as far as two and 3 bottles.(2)
Carter was simply reiterating what an earlier Virginian wrote in a 1739 letter to his London agent, noting that it was “impossible to keep House here without a little wine. . . .”(3)
Given, then, the importance placed upon alcoholic beverages in elite households, it is not surprising that specialized forms for serving them composed part of the household goods in most, if not all, elite Chesapeake households. Only those forms, such as wine and beer glasses and punch related items, which are clearly linked to the serving and consumption of alcohol, are included in this section. Other forms, such as mugs and cans, although undoubtedly used with alcohol but also having a more generalized usage, are discussed under the heading Beverage- General.
Glass decanters, used to hold wine decanted from coarse green glass bottles and from larger containers, were generally used to bring wine to elite tables.(4) A 1715 dictionary defined a decanter as “a Bottle made of clear Flint-glass, for the holding of Wine, etc. to be pour'd off into a Drinking-Glass.”(5) Labeled examples, i.e., those engraved or painted with the name of the type of beverage they were intended to hold, show that, in addition to a wide range of wines, they also held beer, distilled liquors such as gin, and punch.(6)
Most advertisements for table glass during the second half of the eighteenth century are generally not particularly descriptive, usually simply noting that glassware is among the articles offered for sale. However, when merchants do enumerate the types of goods making up an assortment of glass, decanters are almost always included.(7) Although most such notices fail to provide detailed information about the decanters being sold, a few do note size, such as large or small, or occasionally capacity, such as pint and quart.(8) Even more intriguing are the occasional advertisements which hint at decoration, such as the one placed in 1759 by merchant James Houston noting that among the goods offered were “cut and plain Decanters.”(9)
Merchants' account and order books provide additional information about the types of decanters in use in the Chesapeake during the last half of the 18th century. An invoice of goods imported by Alexandria merchants through the island of St. Eustatia during the American Revolution reveals a surprising range of sizes. Among the sixteen decanters included in the cask of glassware were one to hold a gallon, one 3 quart size, two 2 quart size, eight 1 quart size, and four 1 pint examples. All were listed as having ground stoppers and bottoms.(10) Somewhat more descriptive of appearance are entries in the order book for the Maryland firm Wallace, Davidson & Johnson. In April of 1771, the invoice, in addition to 2 dozen plain quart decanters, included “6 Engraved for Madeira.” In October of the following year, the order included “1 doz. Labeld Quart do [decanters] and 1 doz. do [labeld] flow'd Pint.”(11) In 1784, as part of an large order of glass, ceramics, textiles, and metalwares, the Dumfries, Virginia firm of Huie, Reid & Co. imported nine casks containing assorted glassware. Among the goods packed in these casks were more than 200 decanters, most listed as being quart size and decorated with some form of cut or engraved decoration. Some were also described as flowered and with “new borders.”(12)
Decanters are among the forms ordered by individual planters. In November 1762, George Washington ordered from his British agent, Richard Washington, “6 quart decanters.” The following April, included in the invoice of the Ship Nautilus are, “6 quart decanters, cutt. Top and bottom.” Another surviving invoice, dated ten years later, shows that Washington was billed for 4 quart Decanters Do. [Cutt:] at the cost of 4ƒ6, by Farrer & Garrett of London.(13) Six plain decanters were among the goods ordered by Robert Beverley in 1785.(14) Decanters were also among the goods ordered by the Jones family in 1760. This order apparently included a half dozen decanters, two each in graduated sizes from pint to gallon. A note on the side of the invoice indicates that the quart decanters were not sent.(15)
Among the Rural Elite Inventories, (REI), 76% include decanters. It is possibe that the number is somewhat low due to the tendency of some inventory takers to lump glassware together without individually listing the different forms. Among those households having the form, the average number is 6.2 and the median of households having the type (HHT) is 3. The average number is inflated by FLOOD76 which includes an astonishing 66 decanters.
All five of the family inventories include multiple examples of this form. The family average is 7 and the median is 4. Like the larger sample, the family average is inflated by MASON97 which lists 17 decanters. Only slightly more than 25% of REI decanters are described by capacity, i.e., quart or pint. Of those so listed, just somewhat more than one half are quart sized. Among the family members, only MASON97's decanters are listed by size, with more than twice as many pint examples as quart size.
Among the few items for which records survive showing George Mason's purchases are decanters. In August of 1766, Mason purchased from the Glassford and Co. store in Piscataway, Maryland, “2 flowered Wine Decanters” valued at 3ƒ each. The following year an August entry for a different patron of the store includes a listing for a “quart flower'd decanter” at the same price as those purchased by Mason, providing a possible clue as to the size of the his decanters.(16) Given the fragile nature of these items, it is unlikely that this was Mason's only purchase of decanters.
Beer / Ale Glasses
Among the few tantalizing period documents which provide clues to George Mason's household furnishings is an August 1766 account for Mason in the Piscataway, Maryland store ledger of John Glassford & Co. Among the items recorded as being purchased by Mason were “6 plain Wormed Beer Glasses @ 6” and “4 flowered Beer Glasses @ 10 .”(17) A survey of period documents and the Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Data Base provides additional information about these forms.
In September 1751, an advertisement in the Maryland Gazette listed among goods lately imported from England “fine wormed wine, beer, and cyder glasses,” and in the spring of the following year the Virginia Gazette included cyder and beer glasses at 4ƒ per dozen among the goods offered for sale.(18) Such notices appear sporadically through the next two decades; however, the vast majority of advertisements simply mention “glassware” without listing specific forms. Such generic listings make advertisements a poor source for tracking the appearance of beer and ale forms.
Fortunately, invoices, store accounts, and inventories for both individuals and merchants are somewhat more descriptive. George Washington's financial records show a pattern of ordering beer glasses directly from England through his English agents. In 1757 an invoice of goods included “12 beer Glasses, Mugs &c 12ƒ;” an invoice in 1760 noted “1 dozn Beer and Cyder Glasses;” the following year there is reference to one or more beer glasses holding ½ pint; in 1763 the shipment included 6 white enameled beer glasses; in 1771 there was a listing for “6 Ale Glasses enamalld —. 3. 6;” and the last listing in the following year is for 6 cut ale glasses. All together, Washington's existing records show the purchase of beer glasses on six separate occasions.(19) Another Virginian, Robert Beverley, ordered one dozen beer glasses through his British agent in 1762.(20) Eight years later, the inventory taken after the death of Governor Botetourt showed among the glassware in the pantry “4 long beer glasses, 6 flowered small ones, 3 large cut beer glasses and 28 do [large] plain do [beer glasses].”(21)
Glassford's Piscataway store inventories and invoices include beer glasses similar to those purchased by George Mason in 1766. The 1770 store inventory still contained one flowered beer glass valued at 10, possibly the last glass from the original group that matched Mason's glasses, as well as one wormed ditto at 8 and 8 plain ditto valued at 6. The January 1771 inventory showed no beer glasses, a lack remedied by a shipment which contained one dozen flowered “flutes” valued at 10 each. Store inventories in 1772, 1773, and 1774 list these same glasses as beer glasses and show a gradual diminishing of stock. (22) The progression of descriptions matched to inventory placement and values supports the premise that the beer glasses sold at the Piscataway Store were stemmed forms and not tumblers.
Other merchants also included beer forms among their stock. The Wallace, Davidson & Johnson Order Book shows a December 1771 order for “2 Doz. Beer Glasses sorted,” an October 1772 order for “6 doz ale & Cyder Glasses,” and an October 1773 listing for “12 Glass Rummers with feet for Beer.”(23) Most descriptive of all is a listing of goods shipped to Huie Reid & Co. in Dumfries which notes “6 Beer Glasses engraved hopes [sic] and barley 6.”(24)
Beer and ale forms appear in 32% of the Rural Elite Inventories but represent only 8.5% of all Beverage-Alcohol-Drinking Forms. By comparison, 60% of the family inventories include these forms which represent 15.8% of all Beverage-Alcohol-Drinking Forms listed in the five family inventories. The family numbers are somewhat inflated because ELBCK65 had 25 Beer Glasses, roughly twice as many as any of the individuals in the rural elite group. Much more typical among REI was ownership of 5 or fewer examples.
The Glassford Piscataway Store account provides clear evidence that George Mason owned beer glasses among his household glassware. Indeed, the Mason family inventories show a strong predilection for ownership of this form, having a percentage double that of REI. Given this family preference, it is highly probable that Mason, like his neighbor George Washington, purchased beer glasses more than once in the course of his lifetime, possibly in some cases by ordering directly from abroad. Judging from the Washington orders and from various store accounts, beer glasses seem to have commonly been purchased in units of 6 or fewer, with some individuals purchasing one at a time. Mason's Piscataway account showing purchases of 4 flowered and 6 plain wormed beer glasses conforms to this pattern. References in the Jones Family Papers and a Robert Beverley order in 1762 are the only specific instances that clearly show purchases of a dozen beer glasses at a time.(25)
It is probable that Mason purchased beer glasses for his household several times during his lifetime, most often in groups of six. The documentation provides evidence that at least in 1766, there were 10 beer glasses in the household, which would place George Mason equivalent to the roughly 30% of the rural elite households which owned 6 or more examples.
Wine glasses are by far the most numerous glass form related to alcoholic beverages appearing in period documents. This is perhaps not surprising considering the variety and quantity of wine that was consumed in elite households. A list of the wines claimed by Lord Dunmore, Virginia's last royal governor, as among the possessions he was forced to leave behind at the Governor's Palace, while exceeding that owned even in elite households, illustrates the range of wines enjoyed by elite Chesapeake society. The list included “42 Pipes and Hogsheads of Wine, the greatest part Madeira” and “12 Gross of Claret, Burgundy, Champagne, Port, Hock, Sherry, Frontiniac, Creme de Noyaux, &c.”(26)
Newspaper advertisements for glassware which list specific forms commonly include wine glasses. While most such notices are non-descriptive, a few do offer clues as to form or decoration. One such advertisement in the Maryland Gazette in 1763 offers “best worm'd wine glasses.”(27) The term wormed is the period word for glasses with air bubbles drawn up through the stem of the glass in a spiral pattern. Such decorations were popular in English glassware from the 1730s through the third quarter of the 18th century. In 1777, a notice of a sale of goods included “wine glasses plain and enamelled.”(28) Although this notice may have referred to glasses with decorations painted in enamels on the bowl, it is much more likely that it described glasses which were a variation on the wormed stems. In this second type of glass, rods of colored glass were embedded in the clear glass stem and then drawn up through the stem in wide varieties of complex patterns. First introduced in the 1750s, they replaced wormed glasses in popularity and remained in fashion through the 1770s.(29) A reference in 1775 to “neat flowered Wine Glasses” no doubt referred to wine glass bowls decorated in one of many popular floral motifs.(30) Regional notices from the last quarter of the century are silent about form but other types of documents provide clues.
George Washington's purchase of “2 dozn Cutt. Wine Glasses” in 1772 may well have referred to glasses with faceted cut stems which came to be increasingly popular during the last part of the century.(31) Although these various decorative styles were very popular, they were, no doubt, far out numbered by plain glasses. Even an elite figure like Robert Beverley might choose to order “4 dozn. neat plain Wine Glasses.”(32)
Merchants' accounts and order books provide insight into just what an important form the wine glass was in the 18th-century Chesapeake. The Maryland merchant firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, between December of 1771 and October of 1772 ordered 126 dozen, i.e., an amazing 1,512 wine glasses. These were described variously as “good,” “common,” “best,” and “neat and fashionable.”(33) In 1783, the Alexandria firm of Hooe & Harrison recorded one invoice which included 960 wine glasses of two different grades.(34) The following year, Huie, Reid & Co. of Dumfries, Virginia, in a single order, purchased 108 dozen (1,296) wine glasses, which were described as being decorated in various ways including enameled, valued at 5ƒ per dozen, common wines @ 2ƒ6, “cutt & edgd new border” @ 8ƒ and “mason,” i.e., with Masonic symbols @ 2ƒ6.(35)
Wine glasses are one of the items for which records of George Mason's purchases survive. In 1766 and again in 1767, Mason purchased a dozen wormed wine glasses from the Piscataway store of John Glassford & Co.(36) Since breakage must have been a real problem with these delicate glasses, it seems likely that the Glassford purchases were neither Mason's first nor last purchases of wine glasses for use at Gunston Hall. If he followed the pattern of neighbor George Washington, wine glasses were among the household goods which were replenished on a fairly regular basis. Washington's records show his purchases for multiple dozens of wine glasses in 1757, 1761, 1763, 1765, 1771, 1772 and twice in 1775.(37) Added insight into Mason's wine glasses is offered by fragments recovered during the archeological investigation of the Gunston garden. Two wine glass stems with white enamelled twist patterns have been found.
Among the REI, 82% have wine glasses. This number may slightly under represent ownership due to the tendency of some inventory takers to lump glassware together without enumerating forms. The average number per HHT is 17.3 and the median per HHT is 13.5. All five of the family inventories include wine glasses, most in substantial numbers. The family average is 30.6 and the median is 28.
Punch, a mixed beverage made from various combinations of alcohol, water, citrus juice, sugar, and sometimes spices, was exceptionally popular drink among the Chesapeake gentry. So ubiquitous was it on the entertaining scene that mid-century wag in writing a poem about a fish fry included “Six Quarts of good rum, to make Punch and Grogg” and “Sugar, Lemons, a strainer, likewise a Spoon, Two China Bowls to drink out of at Noon” among the necessities that must be taken on their excursion.(38) Thomas Gwatkin, recording his experiences in Williamsburg in the early 1770s, noted “their common drink . . . is toddy or a mixture of rum water and sugar.” He added that “in general it is made pretty weak, the proportion being about a glass of rum to six of water.”(39) Another mention of punch is made by Philip Fithian, who recorded in his journal a meal at the Carter household which was followed by both “Lime Punch” and madeira.(40) Perhaps the reference which captures best the convivial nature of the punch bowl is one describing a visit with Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. The visitor remembered:
I recall with pleasure that as we were conversing one evening over a 'bowl of punch'. . . we happened to speak of the poetry of Ossian. It was a spark of electricity which passed rapidly from one to the other . . . Soon the book was called for, to share in our 'toasts': it was brought forth and placed beside the bowl of punch. And before we realized it, book and bowl had carried us far into the night.(41)
John Mason, in his recollections of his youth, remembered that his father George Mason drank toddy everyday before and with his dinner. John wrote of his father that:
his habit was every day between 1 and 2 to send for one of his Sons-to make the Bowl of Toddy- which was compounded always of West Indian Spirits-loaf Sugar and water-with a little Nutmeg grated on the Top- every Body drank out of the same bowl and uniformly, it was the practice with my Father, when the bowl was presented to him immediately after its preparation, to say to this Son so presenting it- I pledge you Sir, which was to say, drink first yourself Sir- This belonged to the courtesy of the times.- You saw it in all good company, when the Bowl was first produced— (42)
The bowl which the Masons passed around in order to partake of punch was most probably of some type of ceramic. Punch bowls, of both British and Oriental ceramics, were an important part of the wares sold by regional merchants and among those goods imported directly by elite householders. These bowls often came in groups of graduated sizes, ranging from small individual sizes to large bowls sometimes holding a gallon or more. As is seen from John Mason's reference, some bowls, probably the small to middle-sized examples, were meant to be drunk from directly. The punch from larger examples was ladled out, often into wine glasses, for individual portions.(43)
Maryland merchants Wallace, Davidson & Johnson wanted, as part of their order of August 1771, china bowls in 4 sizes ranging in capacity from 3 quarts to 1 quart in at least two different decorative styles.(44) Charles Carroll, Barrister, in 1766, ordered directly from his British agent “8 Genteel Enameled china punch bowls Difft sizes 2 of 3 Quarts 2 of 2 Quarts 2 of three pints and 2 of a Pint and a half some Plain some Scalloped.”(45) Punch bowls were also bought individually, as the records of regional merchants clearly illustrate.(46)
Among the REI, all bowls designated as “punch,” or recorded by measured quantity, by size, i.e., large or small, or in clearly graduated sets, were assumed to be punch forms. In REI, 74% have these forms. It is probable that some of the rest of the REI have bowls which were, in fact, used as punch bowls but there is no way to determine this usage from the inventory listings. In HHT, the average is 6.9 and the median is 5.5.
Among the family inventories, only two (40%) have bowl listings that can be counted as punch related. MASON97 has 4 china “toddy” bowls and MASON00 has 5 china bowls “different sizes.” The three other family inventories do contain bowls which may have been used as punch bowls but the listings lack the necessary descriptors allowing them to be included in the tally for this type of object. In this instance, the numbers alone would rule against the inclusion of punch bowls in the recommendations for Gunston Hall; however, John Mason's recollection of his father's habit of toddy drinking provides clear evidence to the contrary.
Although not essential for enjoying punch, as is clear in John Mason's account of his family taking toddy before dinner, punch ladles used to transfer punch from larger bowls to smaller vessels, were sometimes found in elite households. Documentary references to the form, as different from soup ladles or unspecified ladles are relatively rare. Charles Carroll, the Barrister, does provide some clues as to what the criteria for punch ladle might be. In 1760, he ordered, in addition to “one silver soop or Terine Ladle,” a “Light silver punch Ladle the Lighter in the Handle the better as it will not Chip or break the Bowl.”(47)
The Gunston Hall Probate Inventory Database provides clues into materials used for these ladles. FNDLL63 owned a punch spoon with a horn handle as well as an all horn example. CORBIN60 lists a silver punch ladle with a wooden handle and HUNTER64 includes one with a whale bone handle. Most, when material is cited, are listed of silver, although a pewter example (MCCRTY73) as well as a wooden one (FLOOD76).
The REI percentage of ownership is 32% with the average for HHT of 1.4 and a median of 1. In the family inventories, 40% own the form. MASON97 and MASON00 both have silver examples.
Chocolate was also consumed as a hot beverage during this period. Database numbers were run for chocolate related forms; however, as none of the family inventories list any of these items, this subcategory of Beverage is not discussed in this report.
Coffee forms, while not a prevalent as tea forms, were found in a majority of elite households in the Chesapeake. They also appear among the merchandise advertised by regional merchants as well as occurring in the goods listed in their order and account books. Like tea and chocolate, coffee was introduced to the English population in the early years of the 17th century. It has been argued that none of these drinks made serious inroads into popular culture until refined cane sugar became available. Whatever the cause, the first documented English coffee house did not make its appearance until the middle of the century. By the end of the 17th century, coffee houses had an important role in both the social and business life of masculine England. By the middle of the 18th century, coffee was widely consumed within the private world of home as well as in the public arena of the coffee house.(49) Wide spread acceptance of this beverage is evident in the presence of the specialized coffee equipage among the goods ordered and sold by Chesapeake area merchants. Evidence of its consumption is also found in the records of private individuals.
Landon Carter, in his diary entry for December 16, 1763, noted that “Yesterday I had the West India Coffee roasted in my Spit roaster. It was gently turned. Took near 4 hours to roast it well. . . .” He then added “wasted Juste 2 ounces which is equal to 1/8 loss.” Ten years later, Carter noted that he purchased “102 pounds Coffee at 13 Maryland money.”(50) Philip Fithian noting a change to the daily routine at Nomini Hall as cool weather set in at the end of September 1774, wrote in his diary that “We have now entered on the Winter plan, have Coffee just at evening & supper between eight and nine o-Clock [sic].”(51) Coffee was among the commodities imported during the Revolutionary War through the Caribbean islands by Alexandria merchants Hooe and Harrison.(52) Coffee was also among the refreshments served at the Twelfth Night Ball in Alexandria in 1775.(53)
Coffee Cups and Saucers
Coffee cups and saucers could be purchased separately, or they might be ordered as part. of a larger set of china. Robert Beverley, placed an order in December of 1762 for “a compleat set of China” which was to include, in addition to the tablewares, “Tea cups, Coffee Cups & all the necessary Appendages for a handsome Tea Table.”(54) Among the Jones Family papers is a large order for white stoneware which included “2 Setts ditto [white stone] large coffee cups and saucers.” These were in addition to two sets of tea cups and saucers and two sets of chocolate cups and saucers. (55)
Coffee cups and saucers were also available to be purchased as individual items through regional merchants. Among the goods ordered in 1760 by Alexander Henderson for the Glassford store in Occoquan were 72 china coffee cups and saucers as well as “24 coffee cans.”(56) George Muter, a merchant in Norfolk, received as part of his April 1763 order, “12 coffee cans blue & white” which cost 6 shillings 6 pence.(57) Maryland merchants, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, in their order of November 1771 wished to have “5 whole doz. Coffee Cups and Saucers” included in a shipment of enameled china.(58)
Among the REI, 62% show ownership of coffee cups and saucers. Of those, 45.2% had cups only. The large percentage listing only cups may well be related to the practice of buying matching coffee and tea cups to be used with a single set of saucers. The average number of pairs of cups and saucers is 13.7 and the median is 6. The average number of “cups only” is 7.9 and the median is 6. China was by far the predominate material listed.
Of the family inventories, only three specifically cite coffee cups and/or saucers; however, the two inventories with no listings for coffee cups (ELBCK65, MASON00) include coffee pots. ELBCK65 has an entry for “3 broken Sets of China Cups & Saucers” while MASON00 lists “32 pieces diff. sets of China.” Both of these entries could well have included coffee cups. Of the family inventories listing coffee cups, two specify china, while the third implies that the cups are china. Assuming that the entries cited for ELBCK65 and MASON00 did include coffee cups, they, too, would be of china.
Coffee cups are among the items known to have been purchased by George Mason. In 1766, he purchased “2 doz stone coffee cups” at the Glassford store in Piscataway, Maryland. Coffee cups and saucers were also among the forms included among the ultimately rejected shipment of china from France in 1786. Although Mason returned the wares, there is no indication that the forms which arrived were other than what Mason had specified.(59)
Coffee pots, generally made in a tall tapering cylindrical form, were frequently used for brewing the coffee. Early 19th-century encyclopedias describe two methods for making coffee. One set of directions recommended placing the ground coffee in a linen bag or strainer inside the pot and then filling the pot with boiling water. The second recipe called for putting the grounds directly into the pot, filling it with water and then setting the pot “on the fire till it boils for a minute or two.” The pot was then left near the heat until the grounds settled.(60)
The preponderance of metal coffee pots evidenced in period records may well reflect a preference for the latter type of preparation. In 1771, copper coffee pots of a three pint capacity were among the metal goods ordered by the Maryland firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson.(61) Copper was not the only metal from which utilitarian coffee pots could me made. Tin, both plain and japanned, was also a common choice. The day book for the Dumfries, Virginia firm of Smith, Hue, and Alexander records the sale of several jappanned coffee pots, one with a matching stand in the early 1790s.(62) Coffee pots could also be made of ceramic. In 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson ordered “1 Doz. Setts Yellow Coffee Potts sorted,” (presumably assorted by size). In another order, the firm requested a dozen “Queens Ware” coffee pots, also “sorted.”(63) At the top end of the spectrum were coffee pots fashioned of silver. The instructions for a silver pot ordered in 1771 for William Lux through the firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson were very clear. Lux wanted “a plain silver coffee pot double billied [sic] to hold 1 Quart & ½ a pint with a round Ebony handle supposed 32 Ozs.”(64)
Coffee pots occur in 88% of Rural Elite Inventories (REI). Among those households having type (HHT) the average is 2.2 and the median is 2. Copper is the most frequently cited material, representing 46.8% of all cited examples and occurring in approximately half of all HHT where material is given. Tin is the second most common material at 23.4% followed by silver at 17%. Identified ceramic examples represent only 10.6% of coffee pots described by materials.
Among the family inventories, 100% have coffee pots. The family average is 1.6 and the median is 2. Of the five family inventories, only 2 cite materials. MASON97 owned a silver coffee pot and MASON00 had both a ceramic and a tin example. The examples listed in the other three family inventories, based on their placement among like items, were probably either copper or tin or, in one example (MASON86), perhaps even pewter, although the value assigned seems low for pewter.
Coffee was undoubtedly served at Gunston Hall since coffee cups are among George Mason's known purchases. Thus far, no references for coffee pot purchases by George Mason have been found.
In addition to those forms directly associated with alcohol such as wine glasses and punch bowls, there were a wide range of other forms used in the 18th century to store and serve beverages of all sorts. In some cases, such as bottles or corkscrews, these items are relatively straight forward; in others, such as drinking forms, it is sometimes difficult to sort out period usages. Indeed, it is clear that period terms were often used interchangeably. For this reason, drinking forms were grouped for study into handled and handleless forms.
Bottles, often referred to as “wine bottles” by historians and visitors alike, were in fact often used as all purpose containers in the 18th century. The same types of bottles were used not only for wines of various types but also held such diverse contents as beer, ale, spirits such as rum, whale oil, paint, and fruit. Specialized shapes for different types of beverages and uses were largely a 19th-century development.(65)
In Inventories, bottles are often described by capacity such as quart or pint, and sometimes by contents. WRDRPE60, for example, listed 24 bottles filled with wine as well as four pint bottles of “citron water.” This inventory also included 156 empty bottles, providing evidence that these containers were viewed as a reusable household commodity.(66)
Bottles are found in large numbers in the database. The statistical count is based on bottles which are not included as part of a case of bottles. They occur in 82% of all Rural Elite Inventories (REI). The average number per household having type (HHT) is 141.3 and the median is 86.
In the family group, three (60%) have bottles not associated with cases. ELBCK65 has an amazing 1242, more than anyone in the REI group. MASON97 also has a large number, 435. Only two households in the REI group have more examples. The family average is 539 and the median is 435.
There are two purchases of bottles among the known George Mason orders. He bought 6 quart bottles at the Belvoir sale in 1773 and later in 1780 his invoice from De Neufville & Son included “576 Empty Quart Bottles.” His ownership and use of bottles is also alluded to in his 1780 purchase of 8 gross (1,152) of corks from De Neufville.(67) A glimpse of Mason's use for the large number of bottles is offered in a letter to George Washington. He wrote:
I have broach'd four or five Hogsheads of Cyder . . . being made of Maryland Red Streak. . . I hope it will prove good . . . As the Cyder in the Bottles will not ripen, fit for use, 'til late in May, I have also filled a Barrel out of the same Hhd. which I beg your acceptance of.(68)
Physical evidence that Mason custom ordered bottles, at least once, is found in the four bottle seals which have surfaced from the ground at Gunston Hall. Of green glass, they show a typical circular shape into which the monogram “GMA” (for George and Ann Mason) and the date “1760”) was molded. Such seals provided clear identification for 18th-century wine bottles which were reused as long as they were whole.
Drinking vessels, other than wine and beer glasses, came in a wide range of forms and materials. Merchants' accounts contain numerous references to these items made from ceramic, glass, and metal. More expensive versions, made from silver, are sometimes advertised by silversmiths and are often among the items specifically detailed in wills.
Maryland merchants Wallace, Davidson & Johnson recorded their orders for a variety of such pieces in their Order Book in the early 1770s. In an invoice of April 25, 1771, they ordered 156 mugs in a mix of three sizes and four different types of ceramic wares. In addition, there were eight creamware examples ordered with covers. The same order also included six dozen ½ pint glass tumblers for two different costs plus another four dozen tumblers to hold a pint.(69) The following year their order for mugs was substantially larger. Among the goods wanted were 624 ceramic mugs in different wares and sizes, including 24 with covers, and an additional 24 of glass. Also ordered were six dozen glass tumblers “sorted.”(70) Their large orders for common drinking forms is echoed in the goods received by the Dumfries, Virginia firm of Huie, Reid, and Company in 1784. Distributed among six casks were over 1200 glass tumblers of various sizes. Each of the casks was to have nearly identical assortments of mixed glassware, an indication that the items were probably intended to be resold to smaller merchants.(71) An invoice of the Alexandria firm of Hooe, Stone & Company provides evidence that some of these common forms could be quite decorative. A 1783 order for glassware included both blue mugs, some with gilded decoration, and also “white Painted Muggs with covers.”(72)
These types of articles were bought by regional planters, sometimes in ones and twos from local merchants, and sometimes in more substantial numbers through English agents. Families like that of Thomas Jones of Northumberland County, Virginia recorded the acquisition of numerous common forms such as mugs and tumblers. Their records also sometimes list more unusual items such as “2 Glass Cans” purchased in August of 1755.(73) Four “English China Mugs” — two quart and two pint sized — were among the goods ordered by George Washington in 1764. The following year he needed “6 Stone Quart Mugs,” and in 1766, “4 China Mugs - a Qt each” were among the goods ordered.(74) In total, Washington purchased mugs at least eight times between 1757 and 1770.
These forms were also included among orders for tin ware. Among an extensive shipment of goods from John Norton & Sons to Virginia merchant John Wilkins in 1772 were quart and pint sized black japanned “Tin Cups” as well as “6 Qt white & flowd. Japan'd do [Tin Cups].”(75)
More valuable versions of various drinking forms were sometimes created in silver. James Hamilton “Goldsmith, from London,” advertised in the Virginia Gazette in the spring of 1766 that he made and sold “all sorts of gold and silver work, in the best and neatest manner” including “large and small cans” and tankards.(76) Annapolis silversmith William Whetcroft was even more specific, noting that he offered not only tankards, but also “quart, pint, and half pint cans.”(77) More than ten years later, in 1785, Abraham Claude advertised that he had just imported from London and had for sale in his Annapolis shop, “quart tankards; quart, pint, and half pint mugs and cans.”(78) A “large Silver Tankard in genteelest Taste,” clearly meant as a fashionable enticement to purchase tickets, was among prizes offered in a Maryland lottery in 1765.(79)
Silver drinking forms were sometimes acquired directly through English agents. In 1753
Daniel Parke Custis ordered “2 Silver Beakers . . . each of them to hold one pint” to be decorated with his engraved coat of arms.(80) No matter the original source, these forms often figured as specific bequests in wills. Virginian Rawleigh Downman willed to one of his sons a silver coffee pot in lieu of “a two handled Silver Cup” which had been left to him by his grandmother.(81) Eleanor Addison of Prince George's County, Maryland, in her 1761 will, included among her bequests a “large silver cup” for her son John and “a Silver mug” for granddaughter Anne.(82)
Drinking forms not associated with a specific type of beverage occur in 94% of REI. The average number of forms is 17.5 and the median is 24. All five of the family inventories contain examples of these items. The family average is 15.6 and the median is 15.
Handleless Drinking Forms
For statistical purposes, tumblers and beakers, as handleless forms, are grouped together.(83) The average number per household having type (HHT) is 7.8 and the median is 3.5. Of those tumblers where material is given, the vast majority are glass. There is, however, one listing each for a silver tumbler (AMBLER69) and a japanned example (GILMOR82).
Four of the five family inventories list tumblers or beakers. The family average is 6.3 and the median is 2. Tumblers are listed in ELBCK65, MASON97, and MASON00. MASON63 lists “1 old plate beaker.” Also providing insight into the family ownership of these forms are entries in the wills of George Mason, Jr. and Thomson Mason, both of whom wrote their wills while their children were still minors. Both make reference to silver beakers given to their sons by their grandfather, George Mason of Gunston Hall. There are also extant silver beakers with apparent family histories. These examples of beaker ownership raise the interesting possibility of a family pattern. Was each male member of the family was given a silver beaker as a christening present, or perhaps just the oldest son, or were these pieces simply part of the family predilection for owning silver?
Handled Drinking Forms:
Handled drinking vessels, tankards, cans, mugs, and cups show real differences as to size and material and therefore are considered by individual form.
Cans, smaller than tankards and without covers, occur in 46% of REI. The average per HHT is 2.4 and the median is 2. Silver is the most common material, representing 59.3% of examples where material is given. Glass, at 27.8% is the second.
Three of the five (60%) of the family inventories include this form. The family average is 4.7 and the median is 3. Two of the three family listings are for silver examples representing 78.6% of the family examples. The other listing is for glass which represents 21.4% of the family examples.
In the eighteenth century, the term cup covered a wide range of possible forms. They could be grand handled silver forms with handles or utilitarian objects made from tin. Cups of any variety are found in only 10% or REI. Of these, one example in WSHGTN00, was probably a glass wine rinser and at least two, found in DWNMN81 were exotic curiosities, one of wood and the other of antimony.
Cups are found in three Mason inventories. Of the family examples listed, the two half pint “Queen china” examples in MASON97 may be breakfast cups or small bowl forms meant to accompany the dinnerware with which they are listed.
Silver cups are found in just 6% of REI. The average for silver cups is 1.6 and the median is 1. Among the family inventories only one (20%), MASON63, has silver cups with two examples listed.
It is not clear what form the description “tin cups” is meant to describe in period inventories. Tin cups are listed in only one (2%) non-family inventory. It is possible that other examples are included in generic listings for tin ware.
Two of the family inventories, ELBCK65 and MASON97, include tin cups . Both list eight examples. It is possible that the “2 pint black painted tin jacks” George Mason purchased from the Glassford Piscataway Store in 1767 may also refer to this type of drinking vessel.(84) The term jack may also make reference to the form known as a black jack which was normally made of hardened leather. The term blackjack occurs in only two of the REI inventories and in none of the family group. Whether of leather or tin, it is hard to know whether these vessels were intended for use in the main house.
Mugs occur in 76% of REI. The average number per HHT is 8.3 and the median is 4. When material is given, 92.3% are ceramic. Of ceramic examples, 47.6% are china, 32.1% are stoneware, 16.6% are unspecified ceramic, and 11.9% are creamware.
In the family group, 4 (80%) have this form. The average number is 3.7 and the median is 3. All family examples are assumed to be ceramic, based upon description or placement. Examples are described as china, stone, earthen, and “Qu[een] china.” Mugs are among the forms that occur in the surviving documentation for George Mason's purchases. In 1766, he purchased ½ doz quart size brown stoneware mugs and ½ doz pint size stoneware mugs. A 1780 invoice of goods purchased by Mason from De Neufville & Son for a crate of cream colored earthenware lists six quart and six pint size mugs.(85) There is no reason to feel that these would have been Mason's only purchases of this form.
Tankards occur in 20% of REI. The average number per HHT is 1.4 and the median is 1. Of those identified by material, 91.6% are silver.
In the family inventories, only one (MASON63) has this form—listing 2 old plate tankards. Among other family documents related to this form is the will of George Mason's second wife's father, George Brent. He left to his daughter, Sarah, a large silver tankard as part of a group of silver articles “which were her Grandmothers.”(86) Presumably, Sarah Brent would have brought these pieces to Gunston Hall when she married George Mason.
Among the items in this category are a wide range of forms intended to store, transfer, or serve a variety of beverages. However, only jugs are recommended for inclusion among the furnishings at Gunston Hall. Also found in this category are corkscrews, funnels and siphons.
There is some flexibility in period usage of the term “jug.” In the context used here, it is meant to imply a storage/serving vessel with a handle which may or may not have a pouring spout. Modern usage might term this form a pitcher; however, there seems to have been some type of differentiation during this period as both terms sometimes appear in the same inventory.(87)
Size seems to have varied. WRDRPE60, for example, includes jugs described as holding as much as four gallons and as little as two quarts.(88) This size range is confirmed by a 1772 merchant invoice which included “1 large Crate of Stone Bottel [sic] Mouth Juggs from ½ to 4 Gallons.”(89)
Functional household items like corkscrews and funnels were among the cutlery and tinware ordered by large merchant firms such as Wallace, Davidson & Johnson,(90) and among the miscellany of everyday life recorded among the purchases of Chesapeake planters. On July 12, 1755, Thomas Jones bought both a corkscrew and a funnel, in addition to such other assorted goods as chamber pots, hats, and shoe thread.(91) Three funnels of different sizes were among the articles sent to George Washington as part of an order of tin ware in 1763, and in the same year, tin funnels were among the goods imported and sold at the Elk Ridge, Maryland store of merchant William Lux.(92)
Siphons, used to decant wine, were apparently fairly rare. They seem to have been produced primarily from the middle of the 18th century through the early part of the 19th century. These pieces of equipment are found in two forms, one with a mechanical pump and one using oral suction to start the siphoning action. Both types were generally equipped with a tap to allow for a quick shut off once sediment began to appear.(93)
Corkscrews are found in only 20% of all REI. This seems amazingly low considering that bottles occur in 82% of all REI. It is probable that these small items were simply overlooked with non-inventoried drawer contents or lumped with parcels of unidentified wares. The family inventories seem to reflect this same disparity as only one has corkscrews but three other family inventories include bottles, either individually or by the cases. Among those inventories which do list the form the average is 3.1 and the median is 1.5.
In the family group, ELBCK65 lists 2 corkscrews. Also to be considered is George Mason's purchase of 2 corkscrews, described as “2 best corkscrews” from De Neufville in his 1780 order.(94)
Funnels are found in 42% of all REI. The average number per household having type (HHT) is 2 and the median is 2. The most commonly listed material is tin.
Among the family inventories, 3 (60%) have this form. The family average is 4.3 and the median is 4. All family examples are listed as tin.
The most common forms of containers are jugs.(95) They occur in 82% of all REI. The average number is 8.7 and the median is 7. Just over 80% of those where material is cited are listed as stone.
Among the family inventories, four (80%) include jugs. The family average is 15.2 and the median is 13. All (100%) family examples are listed as stone.
Siphons do not appear in the REI group; however, two (40%) of the family group, MASON63 and MASON00 owned examples of silver siphons. It is possible, of course, that both of these entries record the same item; however, there is no way at the present time to make this determination.
There is confusion in this category due to overlapping terminology. In period parlance, the terms “cistern” and “cooler” can both be used to describe a large object meant to be placed on the floor to hold and cool multiple bottles of wine. The term cooler can also be used for table top forms meant to hold one or occasionally two bottles. Compounding the problem are wine glass coolers or rinsers which were used to cool glasses at an individual's place at table and montieths which were intended to cool multiple glasses at the same time.
For purposes of this report, the problem is somewhat simplified by the fact that among the family inventories only table top coolers are listed. The preference for table top forms seems in keeping with the existence of a surviving silver montieth, already a family heirloom when George Mason wrote his will in 1773.
Assumed table top coolers, identified by descriptors such as size or material occur in only 6% of REI but occur in two (40%) of the family group. MASON97 lists two small and two large plated bottle coolers and MASON00 includes “6 plated coolers, different sizes” which may well reflect 3 pairs.
Also owned in the family was what they referred to as a large silver bowl. This form, which survives in family hands, is what today is known as a montieth. George Mason in his will, written in 1773, bequeathed to his eldest son a large silver salver “which being an old piece of family plate, I desire may remain unaltered” and “a large silver Bowl given him by my Mother, in which all my children have been christened, and which I desire may remain in the family unaltered for that purpose.”(97) Both pieces passed on to the next generation and, in fact, still survive—the salver at Gunston Hall and the bowl currently(98) on loan to Gunston Hall. This elaborate Baroque-style bowl was made in London by Isaac Dighton in 1701 which suggests that the bowl was originally purchased by George Mason's grandfather.
Bottle Cases: See Furniture-Storage
Introduced into Europe in the 17th century from the far East and the Americas, hot beverages became all the rage among the British aristocracy. By the middle of the 18th century, however, their consumption had begun to permeate virtually every strata of American society. It was the complexity of social ritual and the elaborateness and amount of equipage which differentiated tea and coffee drinking in a Chesapeake mansion from that in lesser households and sometimes even the slave quarter.(100)
Given the importance placed upon the rituals of tea and coffee drinking as well as an ingrained habit for the consumption of these caffeinated beverages, it is not surprising that 100% of Rural Elite Inventories (REI) include equipage for tea drinking and that 94% owned objects specifically identified as related to coffee. Although period orders show that ceramic tea and coffee equipage were sometimes purchased en suite, for purposes of clarity, the objects related to each beverage will be handled separately.
Period documents illustrate just how important tea equipage was as a symbol of gentility. Often the finest materials were used to create those forms intended for Elite households. Tea wares could be purchased in wide variety of fashionable ceramics and some forms, such as teapots, could be custom ordered in silver. Tea chests were often made from mahogany or shagreen with brass or silver fittings and sometimes even fitted out with silver canisters and implements
Tea wares were often among the specified forms when merchants advertised in regional newspapers. Maryland merchant James Houston noted in his 1757 advertisement that among the items just imported from London were “Sets of white Tea Ware,” and two years later he advertised that his imports included “white Stone Tea Pots, Cups and Saucers, black tortoise Ditto [and] China Cups and Saucers.”(101) During the 1760s Maryland merchants continued to make note of the tea wares they imported. William Lux, in 1763, advertised “China Bowls, Cups and Saucer, and Tea Pots, blue and white, and enamell'd,” and the following year a lengthy notice of imported goods included “china Tea Ware, Ditto in compleat Sets enamell'd.”(102) This pattern continued in Maryland and Virginia advertisements throughout the rest of the century.
Merchants' orders and account books provide more detailed information about the types and quantities of tea wares ordered. The inventory taken in 1769 at the Glassford store in Piscataway, Maryland included 27 dozen cups and saucers of three different values and 37 teapots in 10 different styles or sizes.(103) In their April 1771 orders, the firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson requested 378 cups and saucers in two different sizes and at least two different types of decoration, 108 teapots assorted types, two complete “Tea Table Sett[s]”, and 12 sets of children's “tea toys.”(104) In October of the next year, their order included 288 cups and saucers of two different types of ceramics, 60 teapots of five different types as well as 36 milk pots, 24 sugar dishes, and 24 slop bowls.(105)
In addition to the wares such as teapots and cups and saucers, equipage related to tea could also include elegant and elaborate chests and cannisters for storing the loose tea, tea boards and waiters for carrying the various components of the tea service, silver tea spoons and sugar tongs, and forms for heating the water such as kettles or urns.
Hot Water Vessels
Supplying the tea table with hot water with which to make tea presented a problem for which there were a variety of solutions. It is likely that most households relied upon a metal kettle in which water was heated before being brought to the tea table. There the kettle might be placed upon a trivet or perhaps set on a chaffing dish with hot coals. These kettles, usually of brass, copper, or iron, were generally more functional than decorative. Merchants records record the importation of a variety of these objects. Wallace, Davidson & Johnson ordered both “Copper Tea kettles sorted” and “wrought iron Tea Kettles.”(106) There were more elegant alternatives for those in elite households if they wished to spend the money. Decorative kettles with specially designed spirit lamps could be purchased. These might be lesser metals given an ornamental treatment like the japanned “Tea kittle, Lamp” shipped, presumably from France, by De Neufville and Co. to Alexandria merchants in 1783. This example was valued at an amazing £14.10.(107) More often, these expensive items were made from silver, like the examples listed among the silver at Westover in 1769 or among the division of silver between his granddaughters in the will of Nicholas Flood.(108)
For those not finding kettles or kettles on stands satisfactory solutions, there was yet another alternative, a hot water urn. That these items were known by a variety of names is evident in the order William Lux placed in May of 1771 which requested “1 Japan'd Ewer, Kitchen or Boiler with a lock tinned within to be heat with a heater.”(109) Another example was purchased by John Norton & Sons which was described as “1 Neat [Chas'd] brown Copper Tea kitchen with 2 heaters and Key.”(110) Ordering from abroad was sometimes less than satisfactory. George Washington had to try at least twice. In his order of August 1764 he listed “1 Tea kitchen (to stand upon a Tea Table) and lamp,” complaining “last year I sent for one of these, & a Tea kettle was sent instead of it.”(111) These might also be fashionable silver plate like the “Sheffield ware tea kitchen” listed in Governor Botetourt's 1770 inventory or solid silver like the examples listed in the 1781 list of the Jackie Custis's plate.(112) These objects, fitted with an iron core which could be removed and heated before being placed inside the vessel, dispensed the hot water through a tap or spigot which eliminated the need to lift and pour scalding hot water from some type of kettle.
Tea kettles appear in 94% of all REI. The average for HHT is 1.9 and the median is 2. Of those households having kettles, 34% list some type of stand, lamp, etc. Copper accounts for 46% and iron for 37.55 of examples citing materials.
Among the family inventories, four (80%) include tea kettles. The average number among the family inventories including this form is 2.3 and the median is 2. Just one of the four family inventories includes a kettle with stand.
Only 10% of REI contain alternative i.e., urns, boilers, or kitchens, forms of hot water vessels. However, 2 (40%) of the family inventories include examples of these forms. MASON86 includes a tea kitchen of unspecified material and MASON97 owned a silver plate "water" urn.
Tea Leaf Containers:(113)
Tea canisters are a form of tea container which appear in 18th-century documents. It is difficult however to always know what type of container is being described. The term canisters can be used to describe large tin objects used to store and sell bulk tea as well as being associated with smaller decorative objects of ceramic, silver, or japanned tin.
The documentary record is not very revealing about individual canisters not included in a tea chest. The inventory record, however, does provide some interesting clues. Although many references do not specify material, a few offer intriguing glimpses. WRDRPE60 owned not only a tea chest with canisters but also a square china tea canister. FNDLL63 had two tea chests with canisters plus a separate china canister. Ceramic canisters are not limited to mid-century. SMLLWD92 listed 2 china tea canisters with stands and LUKE94 included 1 penciled china tea canister. While it seems likely that some of these china canisters matched other china tea wares, there is no way to determine this from the inventories. Two inventories (GILMOR82, BARNES97) list japanned canisters and one (DWNMN8l) describes what must have been quite a show piece, a marble tea canister with silver mountings. There are also numerous listings for tin canisters which were no doubt used in purchasing and storing large quantities of tea. There is a possibility that the empty canisters were intended to be returned to the merchant(114) but as the listing in FAIRFX82 for 36 empty tea canisters makes clear, the practice was not universal.
Among the REI, 44% have canisters separate from those included as part of a tea chest assemblage with approximately half (22% of REI) of these being probable storage canisters based on material (tin), size (large), or quantity (5 or more). Twenty percent have both chests and separate canisters. Among the family inventories, two have canisters. MASON86 lists a tea chest and an additional 6 canisters which were probably of the type used for storage MASON97 included a plated tea canister was well as a silver tea caddy.
Tea chests were small box forms used to store relatively small amounts of tea and sugar. By the beginning of the 18th century, many examples were made which contained separate compartments or canisters for green tea, black tea, and broken sugar. Some examples also were fitted with spaces or small drawers to hold tea spoons and sugar tongs.(115) They were then brought to the tea table, along with hot water, so that fresh tea could be made on the spot as needed. As a result of the public role played by most tea chests, they were often elaborate and special care was taken in selecting them. Charles Carroll, Barrister, in 1760, placed an order for “1 Shagreen or other Fashionable Tea Chest with silver Furniture with two silver Tea Canisters and a sugar Canister or Dish neatly Chased or Carved about thirteen pounds.” He went on to say:
Pray my Compliments to my young Lady Cousins and Tell them that I desire their Taste in my Tea Chest it is a piece of Peculiarly Lady's Furniture and it will not be Inconsistent with the Nicest Delivery to Grant this Favour to a Batchellor so many Leagues Distant from them and a Relation besides.(116)
Even if one lacked an English relative to pick out the desired item, one could still be detailed as to what was desired. An order placed through the firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson specified “1 Japand Tea Chest with 2 Tea Canester & Sugar Canister of neat Black Tin.” That this was probably intended to be decorative and fashionable is suggested by the fact that the next object in the order is a silver slop bowl.(117) Even individuals not placing special orders apparently had a choice through local merchants. The same firm, on at least three separate occasions, ordered a variety of tea chests for resale. One order was for “1 doz. Tea chests & canisters Sorted.” The second requested “6 Tea Chests with Cannisters half with flat Tops” and
the third listed “3 mahogany Tea Chists large with Canisters” among the goods wanted.(118)
Whatever the source, perhaps no period description more clearly captures the delights of a well outfitted tea chest than the letter detailing a gift sent by Joseph Ball to his niece Elizabeth Washington. He wrote:
I have sent you by your brother Major Washington a Tea Chest, and in it Six silver spoons, and strainer, and Tongs, of the same; and in one canister 1/4£ of Green Tea, & in the other as much Bohee: and the sugar box is full of sugar ready broke: so that as soon as you get your chest you may sit down, and drink a Dish of Tea.(119)
Among the REI, 50% have examples of tea chests. The average number of examples per HHT is 1.3 and the median is 1. Mahogany accounts for over two-thirds of those examples which list material. Among the family inventories, three (60%) have tea chests, ELBCK65, MASON63, and MASON86. Of these, both ELBCK65 and MASON63 include two examples each. Among the family examples, two are of mahogany, 1 is of walnut and 1 is shagreen. The shagreen example belonging to ELBCK65 is of particular interest. Listed in the inventory as “1 Shagreen Tea Chest wth Silver Cannisters” it is valued at the amazing sum of £20. By contrast the mahogany tea chest in the same inventory is valued at only 15ƒ. Only two other tea chests in the entire database have values which are comparable. DORSEY62 of Annapolis includes a chest with silver canisters valued at £14 and WEST9l in Prince George's County owned a mahogany chest with silver canisters which was valued at £25. Aside from general interest as being owned within the family group, the ELBCK65 chest has direct bearing on the furnishings of Gunston Hall because in 1781, Sarah Eilbeck, widow of William Eilbeck (ELBCK65), leaves to her granddaughter, Ann, her tea chest with silver canisters. William, in his will, left all of his household furniture to his wife so that it seems reasonable to assume that this is the same chest. In 1781, Ann (Nancy) Mason was still unmarried and with her father at Gunston Hall. Thus the Eilbeck chest would have been part of the furnishings of Gunston Hall until Ann's marriage in 1789. Valued at £20, this chest must have been quite elaborate, and beyond silver canisters may well have had matching silver tea spoons, tea tongs, strainer spoon, and perhaps even a cream pot, although such examples are extremely rare.(120)
No doubt kept under lock and key, it is difficult to know how much actual usage this chest may have had at Gunston Hall.
Period documents indicate the importance, as the century wore on, which some
individuals placed upon having matched sets of tea ware. Newspaper notices sometimes include such information as that found in the 1764 advertisement of Marylander Thomas Campbell which listed “China Tea Ware, Ditto in compleat Set enamell'd.”(121) Among the tea wares ordered by Wallace, Davidson & Johnson in 1771 were “1 enameld Purple sprig'd common Tea Table sett . . .” and “1 very genteel purple sprigg'd & penciled Tea Table Sett. . . .”(122) It seems likely, based upon the very detailed directions given for these two sets, that they were ordered for specific clients. Less clearly ordered for a particular individual was the “1 Blue & white Tea Table Sett China 43 ps in the Set” listed on an invoice of goods shipped to Alexandria merchants Hooe and Harrison.(123) George Washington's financial records show that he bought tea sets in 1757, 1762, and 1772. The intervening years between the orders for sets saw a range of apparently supplementary tea wares being purchased.(124) Fellow Virginian, Rawleigh Downman, in 1771, ordered “a Sett also for the Tea Table consisting of 2 doz. Tea cups & saucers (of the afternoon size) 2 doz. Coffee cups, two teapots one large & one small, Slop Bason, milk pots, etc.”(125)
Among REI, 12% have definite tea sets. If descriptions or placement are taken into account the percentage of households owning tea sets goes up to 22%. Among the family inventories, only one, MASON97, has a definite tea set; however; it is possible that MASON63's two broken sets of cups and saucers are originally from a set. In 1786, George Mason of Gunston Hall received, in response to a presumed missing order, a shipment of ceramics from France. Although the ceramic ware was apparently not what was requested, it seems likely that the individual forms were, in fact, what Mason had originally ordered. Listed on the invoice as separate lines were the components for a full tea set including both tea and coffee cups and saucers, a teapot and stand, a sugar bowl, a cream pot, and basin, probably intended as a slop bowl. It is possible that Mason intended this set as a replacement for an earlier one decimated by breakage. This set, because it was not the Chinese export porcelain originally ordered, was returned. It is unknown whether Mason tried again to purchase china tea wares.(126)
It is probable that Mason owned tea wares unrelated to the recommended set; therefore, the individual types of tea wares will be explored further. In some cases, the recommended wares will be noted as being part of the recommended tea set.
Teapots / Teapot Stands
The teapot was in many ways the heart of the tea table. In it the magic elixir was brewed and from it the individual cup filled. Tea pots could be made in a myriad of types of ceramic wares or silver and came in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Unless one went the extra step and purchased a matching tea set, it was quite likely that the teapot might be different from the rest of the tea wares or at most be matched to the cream pot and sugar dish.
Newspaper advertisements provide a few clues to the types of ceramic teapots offered for sale. In the 1750s and 60s notices appear which include white salt-glazed stoneware teapots and what were undoubtedly Chinese export porcelain blue and white or enameled examples.(127) A notice in 1771 offers more intriguing examples. Included among the wares offered for sale in Annapolis were “Colliflower” teapots, that is refined English earthenware pots molded and colored to imitate the green leaves and white head of cauliflower. Even more fashionable were “Egyptian” teapots. This newly fashionable black stoneware had only been put into commercial
production three years previously.(128)
Merchants' account books are even more revealing about the variety of teapots imported and sold. The order book of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson gives a good idea of the range of teapots ordered in the early 1770s. The various orders include listings tor “fashionable coloured,” “burnt in China,” “yellow,” “red,” “white stone,” “Fluted Queens Ware,” “Pencild & ennamel'd fashionable,” and “Buff cold Tea Potts with gilt Spriggs upon Leggs.”(129) Records of the Piscataway, Maryland store of John Glassford & Co. include references to “Green Sprigged” small, “fine fluted cream cold,” in three sizes, and “painted cream cold.” with gilding as well as enameled teapots expressing the sentiment “No Stamp Act.”(130) Such accounts also reveal the range of sizes available. While many simply say large or small, the scheme of goods for the Occoquan store run by Alexander Henderson for Glassford specified teapots to hold a pint, a pint and a half, and a quart.(131)
In addition to ceramic teapots, silver teapots also graced the tables of elite households. Advertisements for silversmiths appearing, in the Maryland Gazette include silver teapots among the goods offered. Edmond Milne of Philadelphia advertised in May 1764 and February 1765, hoping to entice business from the Chesapeake gentry. He noted that he had just imported from London “An elegant Assortment of GOLDSMITHS and JEWELRY WARE” among which was included “chased and plain Tea-Pots.”(132) That year Philadelphia “goldsmith” Thomas Sparrow moved to Annapolis and notified the public that he made “all sorts of GOLD and SILVER WORK” including teapots.(133) In the early 1770s, it was local craftsman, William Whetcroft, who advertised that among the “large quantity of silver work ready made” were teapots.(134)
Teapot stands, i.e., small trays, in which to set the teapot to catch drips and protect the table from heat, were part of some tea sets. The documentary record is very quiet about this form but a few do appear in the inventory material. WRDRPE60 owned a china example. BROOKE87 had an old japanned stand used with his black teapot and CLGTT93 had a silver one, no doubt made to match his silver teapot. The form occurs in only 10% of REI. It is possible, however, that ownership was somewhat higher as such forms might have been included among groupings of silver, ceramics, or tea wares. Among the family inventories, only MASON97 lists the form.
Among REI, ownership of teapots is 82%. This number is surprising considering that 100% of the group shows ownership of some type of tea-related equipage. While it is possible to make tea without a teapot, it seems unlikely that elite households were doing so. Instead, it is probable that the missing teapots are accounted for among objects that are grouped by weight for silver or as parcels of assorted ceramic wares. Among REI the average for HHT is 3.2 and the median is 2. Not surprisingly, ceramic teapots of all types form the vast majority, almost 80%, of those listed by material, with china accounting for roughly one fifth of all the ceramic examples. Silver examples make up 12.5% of all cited entries.
Among the family inventories, four (80%) specify teapots. Only ELBCK65 fails to list this object. However, his is one of the inventories with silver objects grouped by weight as well as listing parcels of stone and earthenware which is noted as including “Tea things." No doubt one or more teapots was included in these groups of objects. In the family inventories citing the form, the average is 2.75 and the median is 2. Of those listing materials, silver/silverplated is cited most often followed by Egyptian ware.
Records of George Mason's purchase of teapots for Gunston Hall are among the few documented purchases made by Mason. In 1766, Mason purchased a black stone teapot from the Glassford store in Piscataway.(135) On at least one other occasion, Mason sought to purchase ceramic teaware including a teapot. In 1786, he apparently ordered a tea set of Chinese porcelain through his business connections in France. He received French ceramics instead, which he returned as unsatisfactory. Among the wares listed in George Mason's order to France in 1786 was a “Saucer to Do [Teapot],” perhaps indicating that Mason considered a teapot stand an essential part of a tea set.(136)
Milk and Sugar Forms
The Chinese originated the idea of adding sugar and milk to tea(137) however, it was not until the middle of the 18th century, that their addition to tea was firmly fixed as part of tea drinking in English and American society. Their inclusion as part of the tea ritual meant the development of specialized forms to bring these important items to the tea table.
These forms were sometimes made to match ceramic teapots, even though they were not originally considered part of a tea set per se. In 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson ordered two dozen “pencild & enamel'd Fashionable Tea Potts sorted” with “2 doz. Milk Potts to match the Tea Pots” and “1 doz. Sugar do. do.” The same order also included 1 dozen examples each of fluted cream colored teapots, sugar “potts,” and “Milk Ewers.”(138) British agents might also include these forms as part of groups of assorted tea wares sent to colonial merchants. Merchant James Russell, in 1771, ordered for John Galloway of Annapolis, 6 “Sugar Boxes and Covers white” and another 6 blue and white, together with 6 “milk potts” and 6 “milk Ewers” both in blue in white. As part of the same shipment, Galloway also purchased a dozen white stone “sugar dishes and covers” and two dozen “ditto Milk potts & Covers.”(139) Individuals might also buy these items separately from teapots. In 1766, George Washington ordered 2 each blue and white milk pots and sugar dishes with covers.(140) Such purchases could also be made at local stores. Robert Wormley Carter recorded in his diary in September 1785 that he bought at Ritchie's Store “a suga[r] [di]sh & Cream pot Egyptian China.”(141)
These forms could also be made of silver. Annapolis silversmith William Whetcroft listed intriguing examples of these forms among his merchandise. Among the “silver work ready made” which he offered for sale were “sugar dishes and baskets,” and “cream pots and cows.”(142) The “four fluted Cream potts very Light” which were part of Whetcroft's 1772 order may have been among those included in his newspaper advertisement.(143) Virginian Nicholas Flood, in dividing up the silver in his estate between his two granddaughters, included a silver sugar dish with cover and “1 cream pot in the shape of a cow”(144) among the items bequeathed.
Milk forms are found in 65% of REI. The average among HHT is 2.4 and the median is 2. Of those listing materials, ceramic forms outnumber silver examples slightly less than two to one. Among the family inventories, three (60%) have milk or cream pots. It is probable that ownership was, in fact, 100% because the other two inventories include group listings which might well have included the form. The family average for HHT is 2.3 and the median is 2. Silver outnumbers ceramic examples 4 to 3 among those where material is cited. Cream pots are among George Mason's few known itemized purchases. In 1766, he purchased a black stone cream pot from the Glassford store in Piscataway and a cream pot was among the forms sent in the rejected order of china shipped from French in 1786.(145)
Sugar forms are present in 44% of REI. Among those having the form, the average is 3 and the median is 2. Glass is the most commonly listed material, accounting for twice as many examples as ceramics and exceeding silver examples by more than 3 to 1. The discrepancy between the number of instances of milk and sugar forms may be explained in part by the practice of including sugar bowls or canisters as part of the fitting for a tea chest. Other sugar forms, if in silver, might well be among the grouped items simply valued by weight. In the family inventories, only two (MASON86, MASON97) list separate sugar forms. A sugar bason was among the forms included in the rejected tea set sent to George Mason from France.(146)
Whether one was entertaining at tea or simply having a solitary cup of tea, it was usual to drink more than one cup. Part of the service of tea involved emptying the cold remnants in the cup and perhaps the pot into a bowl provided for the purpose. Pieces specifically intended for this purpose were known as slop bowls or basons. They were listed both among the itemized parts of tea sets and also as individual items ordered by regional merchants. Charles Carroll, Barrister, ordered through his London agent in 1757, “One set of Tea and coffee cups with Tea pot slop Basin &c.”(147) Slop bowls were also part of the ceramic invoices recorded in the Order Book of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson. In 1771 “6 doz small white stone slop bowls” were listed and the following year they requested two different styles of slop bowls to match other tea wares being ordered.(148)
Only 10% of REI show this form. The average of HHT is 2 and the Median is 1. Only one of the family inventories (MASON86) includes a slop bowl. It is probable that many of these items disappeared into generic listings for bowls within the inventories, particularly if they were stored separately from the other tea wares. It is also possible that many households simply used a small bowl not related to the tea wares for this function.
Cups and Saucers
The purpose of all the other tea equipage was to fill the tea cup. Originally patterned after oriental forms, the typical mid-to-late 18th-century tea cup was a small, handleless bowl. This was placed into a shallow dished saucer. There were, however, exceptions to this “usual” form. Breakfast cups were often quite large. In 1762, George Washington received as part of an order “12 Breakfast Cups 12 Saucer B & W China.”(149) To differentiate, the smaller size were sometimes referred to as afternoon size. There was, however, some variation even in these. A 1771 merchants' order requests “6 doz double China afternoon cups & Saucers.”(150) It was also possible, particularly as the century wore on to purchase cups with handles as shown by an invoice including “12 dozn pair handled Tea cups & Sausors.” It should be noted that the same invoice also listed “30 dozen pair of Tea cups & Sausors,” presumably of the more typical handleless form.(151) Both merchants and manufacturers had an incentive to continue to order the handleless form as they were far easier to pack and ship.
Tea cups and saucers, by their very nature, were prone to breakage. The thinly potted sides of the cup would have been susceptible to cracking when hot tea was poured into a cold cup. They were also subject to breakage due to frequent handling. It is not surprising then, to see the vast quantities of cups and saucers which were imported for resale by merchants or to see repeated purchases of cups and saucers in the records of private individuals. Such cups were available in a wide range of ceramic types.
In the REI group, 80% have tea cups and saucers. This number includes all listings whether the cups and saucers are paired in equal numbers or not. Of the HHT, 77.5% have matched pairs of cups and saucers. The average numbers for individual items is cups—18 HHT and saucers—17.9 HHT: the average for pairs of cups and saucers is 15. When examined by stated or assumed sets, i.e., those grouped by material, value, placement, etc., the average number of sets per household is 2.3 and the median is 2. Of those REI listing materials for sets of cups and saucers, 31.4% have examples of different types of ceramics, i.e., a mixture of china, creamware, stoneware, etc. It is probable that in those houses with more than one set, even if all are listed as china, that multiple patterns and/or types are represented. China is the predominate material, appearing in over 80% of REI which cite materials for cups and saucers.
It is difficult to know what percentage of these may have been breakfast cups. Only three inventories (6%) in the REI group list specific examples of this form. These were not tabulated with tea cups and saucers; however, there are five inventories with listings for “large” cups and saucers which may well reference breakfast forms. If these two groups are tallied together, they show a 16% ownership rate.
In the family inventories, four (80%) have the form listed. It is probable that ownership was 100% as MASON00 includes a listing for “32 pieces diff. sets of China” which no doubt included the cups and saucers which he used with either his Egyptian or silver tea pots. Even without the problem of MASON00, it is difficult to tally total numbers of cups and saucers for the family because both MASON63 and ELBCK65 have listings for multiple sets without any specific numbers given. Three (60%) of the family inventories include matched pairs of cups and saucers. The average number for individual cups is 10 and saucers is 14.5; the average number for pairs is 13.3. The average number of assumed sets is 3 and the median is 3. All three listing materials for sets include descriptors indicating probable sets of different types of ceramics. All four family HHT have china cups and saucers.
Among the family inventories, two (40%) show listings for some type of breakfast china. Neither specifies breakfast cups and saucers but it seems probable that both owned the form. MASON86 owned breakfast plates and MASON00 owned a 36 piece set of breakfast china. The ownership of specific breakfast plates would seem to predispose one toward the ownership of additional breakfast forms, while a set of breakfast china would have undoubtedly included cups and saucers.
Cups and saucers are among the known items purchased by George Mason. In 1759 and again in 1766, he purchased a dozen china cups and saucers. The 1766 ledger entry also shows a purchase of two dozen “red stone” cups and saucers.(152) Twelve china cups and saucers were also included as part of the ultimately returned tea set sent from France.(153) Undoubtedly, tea cups and saucers were among the household furnishing replaced by George Mason on a continuing basis throughout his life time.
Tea Boards / Waiters / Trays
It was necessary to have some way to transport all of the various components needed for serving and drinking tea. This was often done with galleried or rimmed trays.(154) In period documents, the terms board, waiter, and tray are all used to describe the objects intended for this purpose. Sometimes, these trays with their accompanying tea wares were left on permanent display in the parlor. George Washington, in purchasing household furnishings from Belvoir, the nearby Fairfax family home, bought not only “a Tea Table and Appurts” but also “1 Tea Board from ditto.”(155) It seems likely that the tea table and board were used together. Ralph Wormley (WORMLY91) had two tea boards with their accompanying tea wares. In his drawing room there was a mahogany tea board with a set of blue and white gilt china and in the dining room there was a mahogany tea table and tea board with a set of blue and white china cups and saucers.
Records of orders for tea boards provide some clues about their appearance. Charles Carroll, Barrister, ordered in 1760 “one Large Neat Pouty [sic] Pool Tea Waiter about a Guinea and a Half.”(156) Charles Carroll of Carrolton, in 1783, ordered “1 large japan tea board, birmingham ware.”(157) While it is not possible to know what color either of the Carrolls' waiters were, wares inventoried in the Glassford store at Piscataway offer a bit more information. In the early 1770s their merchandise included nine “Tea Trea[s]” in four different sizes ranging from 11 inches to 26 inches, all with a “yellow Ground.”(158) At the same time period, Annapolis merchants Wallace, Davidson & Johnson included “1 doz. Japand Waiters sorted” among their order for “Braziery.”(159)
It is not clear what the period differentiation is between the terms tea board, tea waiter, or tea tray or for that matter, what distinguished those forms associated with tea from other similar forms. Size or shape may come into play as may material or finish. For purposes of this tabulation, all three are grouped together.
One or more of these objects are found in 64% of REI. The average per HHT is 2 and the median is 2. Of those where material is given, the examples are split almost evenly between mahogany and japanned. Four (80%) of the five family inventories include these forms. The family average is 4.5 and the median is 2.5 All family examples where material is given are listed as japanned.
The final grace notes for a well appointed tea table were the small cutlery items such as teaspoons, sugar tongs, and strainer spoons. The small spoons were sized to be used with teacups. Tongs were intended to transfer the broken lump sugar from the sugar dish to the individual teacup. The strainer, a spoon form with a pierced bowl and a pointed end handle, was used to skim tea leaves from the tea and to unclog the teapot spout.
These items were often among goods offered by regional merchants. Although most advertisements simply name the items, a few offer more detail. Annapolis merchant Henry Ward included among the goods he listed as just imported from London “Silver Tea Spoons wrought upon.”(160) Philadelphia craftsman, Edmond Milne who advertised for a number of years in the Maryland Gazette included among his imported London goods “chased Tea Spoons, and Tongs, in the Form of a Tea Leaf” as well as “spring tea tongs.”(161) Another merchant offered fashionable “Shagreen Cases with Silver Tea Spoons, Tongs and Strainer.”(162)
Members of the Chesapeake elite could also order their tea implements directly from abroad. Henry Fitzhugh sent old silver to his London Agent to be reworked into new forms among which were to be a dozen tea spoons.(163) Rawleigh Downman requested that he be sent “plain fashionable silver tea Spoons & tongs not such as are thick & clumsy but neat.” He also wanted his crest engraved on them.(164) These items were also sometimes part of the fittings of a tea chest like the one sent by Joseph Ball to his niece which contained six teaspoons, a strainer, and tongs.(165)
Among the REI, only 54% specifically list teaspoons. This is undoubtedly low as silver teaspoons may well have been among silver forms listed by weight, included in a tea chest and not listed separately or among those items willed away from an estate before the inventory was taken. The average for HHT is 15.9 and the median is 12. In roughly 96% of those households having teaspoons, they are listed as silver. Not quite one quarter (22.2%) of those REI having teaspoons have a case with teaspoons.
In the family inventories, 4 (80%) have teaspoons. In actuality, the number is probably 100% as ELBCK65's tea chest which was valued at £20, undoubtedly owed part of its worth to accompanying fittings such as spoons. The average number of teaspoons listed in the family inventories is 17.3 and the median is 14.5. All of the family teaspoons are silver. None of the family teaspoons are listed with cases.
Tea or sugar tongs occur in 44% of REI. The same reasons for undercounting teaspoons may also apply to tea tongs. The average number for HHT is 1.3 and the median is 1. When material is cited, 100% is silver. Among the family inventories, 3 (60%) specify the form. It is likely that ELBCK65's tea chest also contained this form. Of those family inventories listing the form, both the average and the median are 1.
Tea strainers occur in only 26% of REI. The same reason for undercounting mentioned above may also apply to this form; however, the substantially lower numbers would seem to indicate that this form was not as prevalent. Among HHT, the average number is 1.2 and the median is 1. Among those examples where material is cited, 100% are silver. None of the family inventories include this form; however, it is likely that the £20 tea chest in ELBCK65 also included an example of this form. As this chest was inherited by George Mason's daughter Ann
(Nancy) in 1781 while she was still unmarried and living at home, the chest and its fittings would have been part of the furnishings of Gunston Hall from 1781 until the time of her marriage in 1789.
Tea plates or dishes as specifically designated forms are found in only two of the REI inventories; however, plates probably for serving bread and butter, were sometimes included as parts of tea sets. The recommendation of a tea set for George Mason, therefore opens the probability of ownership of a matching plate. See the section on tea sets for a discussion of the various pieces which might be included in a tea set.
1. Philip Vickers Fithian, Journal and Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian, ed., Hunter Dickinson Farish (Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1968), 90, 57, 141, 75.
2. Landon Carter, The Diary of Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, 1752-1778, ed., Jack P. Greene, 2 vol. (Richmond, Va.: The Virginia Historical Society, 1987), 2:1001.
3. Richard Chapman to Edward Athawes, 25 September 1739, “Letter Book of Richard Chapman 1739-1740,” William and Mary Quarterly, 21 (October 1912): 92.
4. Period prints also show wine bottles used on Elite tables.
5. As quoted in Arlene Palmer, Glass in Early America (Winterthur, DE: Henry Francis duPont Winterthur Museum, 1993), 124.
6. Palmer, Glass in Early America, 124.
7. See for examples: Advertisement of James Houston, Maryland Gazette, 22 December 1757; Advertisement of William Lux, Md. Gaz., 11 August 1763; Advertisement of Thomas Hall, Virginia Gazette, (Dixon & Hunter), 28 November 1777; Advertisement of Randle, Mitchell and Son, Virginia Journal and Alexandria Advertiser, 19 May 1785.
8. Advertisement of Nathaniel Waters, Md. Gaz., 23 April 1761; Advertisement of Robert Swan, ibid.,
2 April 1761.
9. Advertisement of James Houston, Md. Gaz., 9 August 1759.
10. Invoice of Goods Received by the Sloop Flying Fish . . . , 6 August 1778, Hooe, Stone and Co. Invoice Book 1770-Jan.1784, Rare Book Collection, New York Public Library. (microfilm no. 3005, Alderman Library, University of Virginia).
11. Order of 26 October 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson Order Book 1771-1774, Chancery Papers Exhibits 1773-1776, MSA No. 528-27, Maryland State Archives, 115.
12. Invoice of Goods Shipped, Folder 1, Box 1, “1784,” Huie, Reid & Co. Business Papers 1784-1795,
MssD., Library of Congress, (Hereafter LC), 4-7.
13. Invoice of Sundry goods, Shipd by Richd. Washington, August 1757, Series 5 Accounts and Financial Records of Mt. Vernon, Financial Papers 1750-1796, George Washington Papers, MssD., LC; November 1762, ibid., ; Invoice Farrer & Garrett, September 1772, ibid., [20a].
14. To Messrs. Anderson & Co., Letterbook 1761-1775, Robert Beverley Papers, MssD., LC. Item no. 79v.
15. Liverpoole, Mar 25th 1760, Invoice of sundry Merchandise shipt . . . , Container 10, Papers of the Jones Family, Northumberland County, Virginia, 1749-1810, Roger Jones Family Papers, 1649-1896, MssD., LC, item no. 1811.
16. Col. George Mason, Esq'r. DR., August 26, 1766, R8, C24, Piscataway Maryland Ledger, 1766, John Glassford & Company Records, 1753-1844, MssD., LC., 107; Mrs Sarah Pye, August 19, 1767, Piscataway Maryland Ledger 1767, ibid.
17. Col. George Mason, Esq'r. DR., 26 August 1766, R8, C24, Piscataway Maryland Ledger, 1766, Glassford, 107.
18. “Imported in the last Ship,” Md. Gaz., 4 September 1751; “To be Sold, at Store,” Va. Gaz., (Hunter), 12 March 1752.
19. Invoice Shipd by Richd Washington, August 1757, Series 5 George Washington Papers; 28 September 1760, ibid., p ; Invoice of Richd Farrer, March 1761, ibid.; Invoice of Richd Farrer, April 1763, ibid,; Invoice of Farrer & Garrett, December 1771, ibid.; Invoice of Thomas Dobbs, September 1772, ibid.
20. To John Bland, 10 January 1762, Letterbook 1761-1775, Beverley.
21. As quoted in Graham Hood, The Governor's Palace in Williamsburg (Williamsburg, VA.: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1991), 288.
22. Inventory of Goods . . . Piscattaway Store, 1 January 1770, 1 January 1771, 1 January 1772, 1 January 1773, 1 January 1774, Inventory 1769-1774 Piscataway, Md, Container 36, Glassford, 40, 58-68 passim, 85, 102v, 163.
23. Order-Glassware, 20 March 1772; Order-Glassware, 26 October 1772; Order-Earthenware Glass &c, 17 October 1773, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 77, 115, 162.
24. Invoice of Goods Shipped, Folder 1, Box 1, 1784, Huie Reid & Co., Dumphries, 1784-1795, 6v.
25. The Washington orders for more than 6 beer glasses in fact may refer to mixed groups, ie., beer glasses and mugs and cider and beer glasses. The Jones Family Papers record purchases of 1 dozen porter glasses, probably in 1760/61, ½ doz strong beer glasses and 4 largest beer glasses in 1762, 6 ale glasses in 1764, and 1 dozen ale glasses in 1768, see Jones Family Papers, items no. 3134, 2345, 2526, 2449, and 3193; for Beverley references see, “To John Bland, 10 January 1762,” Beverley.
26. As quoted in Hood, The Governor's Palace, 298.
27. Advertisement of William Roberts, Md. Gaz., 4 August 1763.
28. Advertisement of Jacob Faulcon, Va. Gaz. (Purdie), 4 July 1777.
29. See Palmer, Glass in Early America, 65-66, for a discussion of this type of stem and for the conclusion that references to enameled wine glasses most often refers to stem treatment.
30. Advertisement of Catherine Rathell, Va. Gaz. (Dixon & Hunter), 22 April 1775.
31. Invoice from Thos. Dobb, September 1772, Series 5, George Washington Papers.
32. Invoice to Samuel Athawes, 6 September 1774, Beverley, 45v.
33. Order-Glass & Earthen Ware, 3 December 1771, Order-Glassware, 20 March 1772, Order-Glassware, 26 October 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 64, 77, 115.
34. Invoice of Merchandize bought by Hooe & Harrison of Capt. Alexr. DeJardin, 31 October 1783, Hooe, Stone and Co.
35. Invoice of Goods Shipped, Folder 1, Box 1, “1784”, Huie Reid & Co., 6v.
36. Col. George Mason, Esq'r DR. 26 August 1766, Piscataway Maryland Ledger, 1766, Glassford, 107; Col. George Mason, 5 August 1767, R9, C25, Piscataway, Maryland, Ledger 1767, ibid., 38.
37. Invoice of Goods Shipd by Richard Washington, August 1757, Series 5, George Washington Papers; Invoice of Richard Farrer, March 1761, ibid.; Invoice of Richard Farrer & Co., April 1763, ibid.; Invoice of Richard Farrer Co., December 1765, ibid.; Invoice of Farrer & Garrett, December 1771, ibid.; Invoice of Thomas Dobbs, September 1772, ibid.; George Washington Cash Accounts, January 1775, ibid; George Washington Ledger entry, 20 May 1775, ibid. In the extant papers of the Jones Family, between 1757 and 1762, orders survive for 20 wine glasses, none however, are listed in the 1762 inventory of Thomas Jones, see Jones Family Papers.
38. “Memorandum for a Seine-Hauling,” Md. Gaz., 22 August 1754.
39. “Professor Gwatkin of William and Mary on the Manner of the Virginians, c 1770,” WMQ, 3rd. ser. 9 (January 1952): 82.
40. Fithian, 142.
41. Marquis deChastellux, Travels in North America in the Years 1780, 1781 and 1782, trans. Howard C. Rice, Jr., 2 vol. (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1963), 2:392.
42. “Recollections of John Mason,” transcribed by Terry Dunn & Estella Bryans-Munson, Gunston Hall Plantation Library and Archives, 1989; revised, 1999, 15.
43. Palmer, Glass in Early America, 100.
44. Order-China, August 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 33.
45. C. Carroll to William Anderson, 10 September 1766, “Letters of Charles Carroll, Barrister” Maryland Historical Magazine, 36 (September 1941): 340.
46. Account Book 1753-1757, Ramsay Papers, Rare Book Collection, New York Public Library, (microfilm at Lloyd House, Alexandria Public Library, Alexandria, Va), 292, 378; Account of John Witledge, 27 September 1761, Payne Account Book 1758-1763, Maryland Historical Society, (microfilm at John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation).
47. Invoice to William Anderson, September 1760, “Letters of Charles Carroll, Barrister,” MHM, 33 (June 1938): 188.
48. See Beverage-Tea for discussion of milk and sugar forms.
49. See the discussion of coffee houses, coffee importation and coffee equipage in Peter B. Brown, In Praise of Hot liquors, The Study of Chocolate, Coffee, and Tea-Drinking 1600-1850 (Castlegate, York, U.K.: York Civic Trust, Fairfax House, 1995).
50. Diary of Landon Carter, 1:245, 2:769.
51. Fithian, 30 September 1774, 199.
52. “Invoices of August 6th, 1778 and May 29, 1777, Invoice Book 1770-Jan. 1784, Hooe, Stone and Co.
53. Nicholas Cresswell, Journal of Nicholas Cresswell 1774, 1777 (Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, , 53.
54. Letter to John Bland, 27 December 1762, Beverley.
55. Messrs Bogle and Scott, London, 1 February 1766, Jones Family Papers, item no. 2830.
56. Letter Book of Alexander Henderson, 1760-1764, Box 20, Alexandria Public Library, Alexandria, Virginia, [trans. p. 5].
57. Consigned to Mr. George Muter, merchant at Norfolk in Virginia . . . London 2 April 1763, Reel 6, Neil Jamieson Papers, MssD., LC.
58. Order-China, 26 November 1771, Wallace. Davidson & Johnson, 48.
59. Col. George Mason, Esq'r DR. 26 August 1766, Piscataway, Maryland, Store Inventory Book, Glassford; 27 March 1786, Robert A. Rutland, ed., The Papers of George Mason, 1725-1792, 3 vol. (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1970), 2:847.
60. Quoted in Donald L. Fennimore, Metalwork in Early America: Copper and its Alloys (Winterthur, DE: Winterthur Publications, distributed by Antique Collectors' Club, 1996), 106. 108.
61. Order-Braziery, 25 April 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 9.
62. Smith, Hue, and Alexander Daybook. Kenmore, Fredericksburg, Virginia, 316, 446.
63. Order-Earthenware, 20 March 1772, Order-Earthenware, 26 October 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 76, 116.
64. William Lux p Letter . . . 4 May 71, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 29.
65. Ivor Noel Hume, Glass in Colonial Williamsburg's Archaeological Collection, Colonial Williamsburg Archaeological Series No. 1, (Williamsburg: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1969), 32; See also Ivor Noel Hume, A Guide to Artifacts of Colonial America, (New York: Vintage Book, Random House, 1991 ed.), 60-71, for a discussion of the development and evolution of bottle forms.
66. Inventory of Mr. James Wardrope, 4 December 1760, Inventories Vol. GS No. 1, fol.64-77, Prince George's County, Maryland, fol. 64-77.
67. George Mason, Sen. DR. Account of sale Belvoir, 15 August 1774, Fairfax Family Papers, Mss1 F1615 b4, Virginia Historical Society; Papers of George Mason 2:668, 2: 670.
68. Papers of George Mason, 2:823.
69. Order-Earthenware, 25 April 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 15.
70. Order-Earthenware, Order-Glassware, 20 March 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 76, 77.
71. Invoice of Goods Shipped, Box 1, Folder 1784, Huie Reid, & Co.
72. Invoice of 25 September 1783, Hooe, Stone & Co.
73. See Jones Family Papers, items no. 1067, 1281, 1581, 1582, 1617, 1733, 1755 v (glass cans), 2866, 1914, 2121, and 2449; There are numerous other examples to be found in this extensive family paper collection.
74. 10 August, 1764, Series 5, George Washington Papers, ; September 1765, ibid., ; June 1766, ibid., .
75. Invoice of Goods Shipped to John Wilkins, 21 July 1772, John Norton & Sons Account and Letter Books, (unpublished), PH-23, Folder 66, Rockefeller Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
76. Advertisement of James Hamilton, Va. Gaz., 18 April 1766.
77. Advertisement of William Whetcroft, Md. Gaz., 27 May 1773.
78. Advertisement of Abraham Claude, Md. Gaz., 16 June 1785.
79. Advertisement for a Lottery, Md. Gaz., 4 July 1765.
80. Invoice Book of Daniel Parke Custis, photostats, PH 02 16, Rockefeller Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
81. Will of Rawleigh Downman, 3 September 1782, Principal Probate Registry, Somerset House, London; Photocopy: Rockefeller Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
82. Will of Eleanor Addison, 12 February 1761, No. 1 Prince George's County, 1698-1770, Maryland State Archives, microfilm no. 34,681.
83. Beakers occur by name in only 2 inventories, MASON63 and WORMLY91 for a total of five examples. All examples are silver.
84. Geo Mason, DR., 5 August 1767, Piscataway Maryland Ledger 1767, R9, C25, Glassford, 38.
85. Col. Geo. Mason, DR., 26 August 1766, Piscataway, Maryland, Ledger 1766, Glassford, 107; From John DeNeufville & Son, 22 July-28 August 1780, in Papers of George Mason, 2:671.
86. Last Will & Testament of George Brent, August Court 1778, Stafford County, Virginia, Ac 22783 [Personal Papers, Brent], Virginia Wills and Administrations, Library of Virginia.
87. See for example, JACOB72, HPBRN74, MTCHLL81, and SPRIGG90; The confusion in description is borne out by early dictionary definitions which shed little light on the subject. It is not until the middle of the 19th century that some real difference begins to appear. The 1845 Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language defines a jug as “a vessel, usually earthen, with a swelling belly and narrow mouth, used for holding and conveying liquors” and a pitcher as “an earthen vessel with a spout for pouring out liquors. . . . It seems formerly to have signified a water-pot, jug or jar with ears.”
88. Inventory of Mr. James Wardrope, 4 December 1760, Prince George's Inventories GS No. 1, fol. 72; the jugs are located “in the vault.”
89. “Invoice of Goods Shipped to John Wilkins, 21 July 1772,” Norton.
90. Wallace, Davidson & Johnson Invoice Book, various entries.
91. Mr. Thomas Jones in accout with Thomas Simpson, 12 July 1755, Container 11, Papers of the Jones Family, item no. 2121.
92. Willm. Hallier, London, 13 April 1763, Series 5, George Washington Papers; Advertisement of William Lux, Md. Gaz., 28 June 1763.
93. Robin Butler and Gillian Walking, The Book of Wine Antiques (Woodbridge, Suffolk, U.K.: Antique Collectors' Club, 1995 ed.), 250.
94. From John De Neufville & Son, 22 July-28 August 1780, in Papers of George Mason, 2:665.
95. The second most common form is pitchers, occurring in 34% of REI. Only one (20%) family inventory, MASON00, has this form. None are recommended for inclusion. One family inventory, MASON97, also has a listing for a carboy which would put the family average higher than REI. This is not a form, however, that would appear in the main portion of the house and is therefore not recommended. Carboys should be reconsidered if the cellar is ever put on display.
96. Also occurring in this category are bottle slides and stands. Statistical information about these forms may be found in the Gunston Hall files; however, none appear in family inventories and are therefore not recommended.
97. George Mason, Last Will and Testament, 20 March 1773, in Papers of George Mason, 1:151.
98. August 2000.
99. See Beverage-Coffee for additional discussion of hot beverages.
100. Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, when visiting Mt. Vernon in 1797, noted the presence of “cups and a teapot” in the “huts of the blacks,” see Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, “Under Their Vine and Fig Tree: Travels through America in 1797-1799, 1805 with some further account of life in New Jersey,” trans. and ed. Metchie J.E.Budka, Collections of the New Jersey Historical Society at Newark 14 (1965): 100-101, as quoted in Martha B. Katz-Hyman, “In the Middle of this Poverty Some Cups & a Teapot,” (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1993), 44; For evidence of wide spread usage of tea and for the presence of tea equipage in Fairfax County inventories, see Julia B. Claypool, Tea Customs in Virginia, 1700-1783, unpublished (thesis, Cooperstown Graduate Programs, State University of New York College at Oneonta, 1984), 109-118.
101. Advertisements of James Houston, Md. Gaz., 8 December 1757, 12 July 1759.
102. Advertisement of William Lux, Md. Gaz., 28 July 1763; Advertisement of Thomas Campbell, Md. Gaz., 7 August 1760.
103. Inventory . . . Piscataway Store, 23 January 1769, Inventory 1769-1774, Glassford, 36.
104. Orders of 25 April 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 5, 13-15.
105. Order of October 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 116.
106. Order-Braziery, 26 November 1771, Order-Braziery, 20 March 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 50, 74.
107. “Invoice of Sundries Shipped by D.Neufvill & Compy . . . on order and Acct of Hooe & Harrison . . . ,” 15 July 1783, Hooe, Stone & Co.
108. “Will of Colonel William Byrd, 3d,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 9 (July 1901): 82; “Vizt. Elizabeth McCall,” Will of Nicholas Flood, Will Book No. 7, Richmond County, 1767-1787, fol. 310-323.
109. Order of William Lux, 4 May 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 29.
110. John Norton & Sons bought of Thomas Shrimpton, 25 June 1772, fol. 63, PH-23, Norton.
111. Invoice of Goods to be sent by Robert Cary, Esq'r, 10 August 1764, George Washington Papers, .
112. Hood, The Governor's Palace, 288; “A List of Plate with the Weight of the different Articles belonging to J.P.Custis Jany. 26, 1781,” The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union Annual Report, 1987, 48.
113. Within the database this grouping consists of chests, canisters, caddies, jars, and boxes. Of these, only chests and canisters are discussed here, based on information within the family inventories. MASON97 and MASON00 are the only inventories within the database to include tea caddies. These are a later form and were not considered consistent with the 1750-1788 interpretative date range for Gunston Hall.
114. Brown, Praise, 95.
115. Peter Brown, In Praise of Hot Liquors, Exhibition catalog, Fairfax House, (Castlegate, York, U.K.: York Civic Trust, 1995), 91-93.
116. Invoice to William Anderson, September 1760, “Letters of Charles Carroll, Barrister,” MHM, 33 (June 1938): 188-189.
117. Order for William Lux & Bowly, 26 October 1772, Wallace Davidson & Johnson, 103.
118. Order-Cabinet Ware, 26 November 1771, Order-Cabinet Ware, 20 March 1772, Order-Cabinet Ware, 26 October 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 64, 79, 113.
119. Joseph Ball Letterbook 1744-1759, LC. (microfilm trans. Rockefeller, Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation), 106.
120. See James Lomax, British Silver at Temple Newsam and Lotherton Hall (Leeds, U.K.: Leeds Art Collections Fund and W.S. Maney and Son, Ltd., 1992), 122-127.
121. Advertisement of Thomas Campbell, Md. Gaz., 7 August 1760.
122. Order-China, 25 April 1771, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 5.
123. Invoice of the Schooner Genl. Arnold, November 1779, Hooe, Stone and Co.; Forty-three pieces seems to have been the standard number for a “complete” set. A 1769 catalogue of a sale of Worcester porcelain held at Christie's in London includes numerous listings for “compleat” tea or tea and coffee sets containing forty-three pieces. This catalogue is reprinted in Volume VIII of the American Ceramic Circle Journal. Samuel Clarke, author of the accompanying article, concludes that a forty-three piece set consisted of 12 tea cups and saucers, 6 coffee cups, a teapot, cover and stand, a bason and plate, a sugar dish, cover, and plate, a milk pot and cover, a tea “jar” and cover, and a spoon tray.
124. “A compleat sett fine Image china,” Invoice of Goods Shipped by Richd Washington, 20 August 1757, Series 5, Financial Papers, George Washington Papers, although this order does not specify this as tea china, several pieces of this set survive, see Susan Gray Detweiler, George Washington's Chinaware (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1982), 24; “Accounts with Mr. Benj. Grayson,” 1 May 1762, Ledger A, George Washington Papers; Invoice of order from Farrer & Garrett, September 1772, ibid., 128; for examples of assorted tea wares see “Invoice of Farrer & Garrret, January 1770, ibid., .
125. Rawleigh Downman to Stephen Renaud, 16 December 1770, Rawleigh Downman Letter Book, 1760-1780, trans. Rockefeller Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 176. Ten years later, Downman's inventory (DWNMN81), lists 8 china saucers and 4 cups, 1 do [china] tea pot, 2 do [china] milk pots and 4 coffee cups. Could this be all that was left of the set?
126. George Mason to John Fitzgerald, 27 March 1786, in Papers of George Mason , 2:847-8.
127. See for example Advertisement of James Houston, Md. Gaz., 12 July 1759; or Advertisement of William Lux, ibid., 28 July 1763.
128. Advertisement of William Hewitt, Md. Gaz., 11 July 1771; for a background of black basalt ware, see: Diana Edwards, Black Basalt: Wedgewood and Contemporary Manufacturers (Woodbridge, Suffolk, U.K.: Antique Collectors' Club, 1994), 25-49.
129. Order-Earthen & Glass, August 1771, Order-Earthenware, 20 March 1772, Order-Earthenware, 26 October 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 39, 76, 116.
130. Invoice of Goods on the Jenny, Piscataway, Maryland Store Inventory Book 1769-1774, Glassford, 74v.
131. Scheme of Goods for Occoquan Store 1759, Letter Book of Alexander Henderson 1760-1764, Box 20, Lloyd House, Alexandria Public Library, Alexandria, VA, p. 1 of scheme.
132. Advertisements of Edmond Milne, Md. Gaz., 31 May 1764 and 28 February 1765.
133. Advertisement of Thomas Sparrow, Md. Gaz., 21 March 1765.
134. Advertisement of William Whetcroft, Md. Gaz., 27 May 1773.
135. Col. George Mason, Esq'r DR, 26 August 1766, Piscataway, Md. Ledger, Glassford, 107.
136. Papers of George Mason, 2:847.
137. Brown, Praise, 49-54.
138. Order-Earthenware, 26 October 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 116.
139. Bot of Akerman Scrivenor & Shaw, 16 December 1771, Folder 1771, Vol. 70, Galloway Business Papers 1654-1819, Galloway, Maxey, Markoe Family Papers, 1654-1888, MssD, LC; Stone Delf & Queensware bot of Thos. Wilkinson, 19 December 1771, Folder 1771, ibid., no. 16.
140. George Washington to Robert Cary, June 1766, Series 5, George Washington Papers, .
141. September 1785, Diary of Robert Wormley Carter, William Clements Library, University of Michigan, (microfilm at Rockefeller Library, Colonial Williamsburg Library), trans. at Gunston Hall, 36.
142. Advertisement of William Whetcroft, Md. Gaz., 27 May 1773.
143. Order-Jewellery, 14 November 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 119.
144. “Vizt. Elizabeth McCall,” Will of Nicholas Flood,  Richmond County, Virginia, Will Book No. 7, 1767-1787, fol. 310-323.
145. Col. George Mason, Esq'r DR 26 August 1766, Piscataway, Maryland Store Inventory Book, Glassford; 27 March 1786, Papers of George Mason, 2:847.
146. Papers of George Mason, 2:847.
147. CC to William Anderson, 23 May 1757, “Letters of Charles Carroll, Barrister,” MHM, 32 (Dec.1937): 353.
148. Order-Earthenware, 25 April 1771, Order-Earthenware, 26 October 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 14, 116.
149. Invoice from Richd. Farrer, April 1762, Series 5, George Washington Papers; It should be noted that Washington ordered breakfast cups and saucers four times between 1762 and 1772.
150. Order-China, 25 April 1771, Wallace Davidson & Johnson, 5.
151. Delf & Queensware bot of Thos. Wilkinson, 19 December 1771, Folder 1771, Vol. 70, Business Papers 1654-1819, Galloway, 160.
152. 19 May 1759, 1758-1760 Ledger, Quantico (Colchester), Glassford; Col. George Mason, Esq'r DR 26 August 1766, Piscataway, Maryland Store Ledger 1766-67, Glassford, 107.
153. Papers of George Mason, 2:847.
154. Only those objects specifically identified as tea related are considered here. Other forms of waiters, salvers, etc., are discussed under Food Service.
155. Contra, Mr. Benj. Grayson, 1 May 1762, Vol. 1, Series 5, George Washington Papers, 128.
156. Invoice to William Anderson, September 1760, “Letters of Charles Carroll, Barrister,” MHM, 33 (June 1938): 187. Carroll's order refers to painted or Japaned metal wares of a type developed in Pontypool, Wales.
157. CC of C to Wallace, Johnson & Muir, Nantes, 20 March 1783, Tinware, Charles Carroll, Letterbook, 1771-1833, Arents Tobacco Collection #S0767, Rare Book Collection, New York Public Library, (microfilm, Maryland Historical Society).
158. Inventory of Goods at Piscataway Store, 1 January 1772, Piscataway Maryland Inventory 1769-1774, Glassford, 116v.
159. Order-Braziery, 22 March 1772, Wallace, Davidson & Johnson, 74.
160. Advertisement of Henry Ward, Md. Gaz., 11 March 1762.
161. Advertisement of Edmond Milne, Md. Gaz., 28 February 1765.
162. Advertisement of Charles Wallace and Comp., Md. Gaz., 28 July 1763.
163. Henry Fitzhugh to Mr. John Bland, October 1763, “Bedford” Stafford Co., Va., Letterbook 1746-1774, Henry Fitzhugh Papers, Special Collections Department, William R. Perkins Library, Duke University.
164. Rawleigh Downman to Samuel Athawes, 14 October 1771, Rawleigh Downman Letterbook, 190-191, (trans. at Gunston Hall, 195-196).
165. Joseph Ball Letterbook, 1744-1759, 107, (trans. at Rockefeller Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 21).