Cavalry Pistol. Board of Ordnance, Tower of London, England, 1760-1764. Iron, steel, wood, and brass. OL: 15”.
Hand shears. England or America, 1750-1820. Iron and steel. OL: 14”.
Gift of Judith and William McMillen.
Telescope and case. John Bennett, London, England, ca. 1760. Brass, glass, wood, and steel. OL: 35”.
Coffeepot. England or America, 1750-1800. Copper, wood, and brass. OH: 8 5/8”; H: 8 5/8"; OW (base) 5 1/2".
Colonial Williamsburg's collection of early mechanical arts contains a diverse array of materials, including tools, machinery, kitchen equipment, arms, military accouterments, scientific and medical instruments, and clocks and watches.
Highlights of the collection include one of the largest and most complete bodies of seventeenth and eighteenth century British military firearms in the world. Featured are more than 200 "Brown Bess" muskets of the American Revolutionary era, most displayed in period settings at the Governor's Palace and the Powder Magazine. Other weapons include swords, bayonets, arms from the Dunmore family gun cabinet, and a number of important early American long rifles.
The Foundation also maintains a large study collection of the tool forms used by eighteenth century tradesmen. It comprises a substantial array of planes, chisels, measuring devices, and hafted construction tools, and almost every other implement needed by early British and American wood workers. Also present are tools used by specialized metal and leather workers, tools and machines used in textile production, and the common implements used by early householders.
Colonial Williamsburg's collection of kitchen equipment ranges from items employed by the poorest members of society to those utilized in feeding the wealthiest. Simple treen bowls and complex mechanical spit jacks appear together with a full spectrum of wrought iron, copper and tin hollow wares, and cast metal wares.
Books about Colonial Williamsburg Mechanical Arts
- Gaynor, James M. and Nancy L. Hagedorn. Tools: Working Wood in Eighteenth-Century America. Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1993.