Bed Steps
c 1840

Description:Three risers, second and third risers shaped, turned feet; Middle step pulls out to reveal a wood cutaway for holding a chamber pot.

Beds of the period were often made tall to provide storage underneath, and to lift the sleeper from floor drafts.   Steps of this type were used to reach the bed, especially by the aged and infirmed. Mrs. Lee used bed steps as she developed rheumatoid arthritis in her hips in her thirties. Locating a chamber pot so close to a bed was necessary for those unable to travel outside to use the privy. By the mid 1840s a flush toilet was installed in the north wing of the Arlington House.

Mahogany, mahogany veneer over pine. H 63.8, W 45, L 77.5 cm

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, ARHO 1457