Cylindrical wooden pinking iron with a fluted edge
Created: 1765–1800
Medium: Pinking iron

Pinking Iron Probably Used by an Enslaved House Servant

This pinking iron, a cylindrical iron instrument with a fluted edge at left, is part of the collections at George Washington's Fairfax County plantation, Mount Vernon. A skilled enslaved member of the household would strike the pinking iron with a mallet to finish the edge of a fabric and provide a decorative element to a piece of clothing. This item may be one of the "Com[plete] Sett of Pink[in]g Irons" that George Washington received from London in 1768.