Extra Supplements to
George Washington's Liberty Key
Update 19 July 2017
Click here for discussion of Bastille size, measurements, and dimensions located about a quarter-way down this page.
Note: These supplements are likely best understood after reading the book!
To receive immediate updates, please "like" us on Facebook and rate or review us at Amazon and everywhere else! Thanks!!
If personality is key, this key has personality! And hopefully, this character helps teach the power of character!
The next "Moby Dick"? You be the judge. But definitely read it now...before the movie and the musical!
If you like it, please tell others. If you didn't, please tell us quickly...and how the next version might be improved.
Living key, living book. We can adapt! See our email address below.
Now available at the Shops at Mount Vernon
A reader truly going first class on a British train (note the sign on the
chair to the right)!
The reader is on his way to
birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment and one-time "hotbed of genius" with, among others, liberty-lovers David Hume and Adam Smith.
Hopefully, in true George Washington practice, the reader will dutifully note any typos (and pass them on to me for correction in the book's next version).
Edinburgh, Scotland's Bastille?
Memoirs of General Lafayette
Research on "The Keys of the Bastille of Paris" by Henry Spencer Howell of Galt, Ontario, Canada, 1887.
This interesting pamphlet is one of the first works on the Bastille and its keys that I consulted for my own book, “George Washington’s Liberty Key: Mount Vernon’s Bastille Key.” Howell’s small book or pamphlet was first published in 1887 and covers in brief the Bastille, the Storming of the Bastille and subsequent aspects of the French Revolution, the Bastille keys, and the provenance of Howell’s own five Bastille keys. All in all, the pamphlet is interesting in that it shows what information was available in that era to an individual key collector who spent a great deal of time trying to document the history of the Bastille keys he obtained. Unfortunately, there are a number of errors Howell commits while making assertions based upon assumptions in the information-sparse world before the internet. Even with the internet, however, I have not yet been able to find the current location of Howell’s Bastille keys. The library (idea exchange) in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, claims to have no information.
Harvard Yard Snowball Fight: Real-life "Join, or Die!"
Photo from Museum of the American Revolution. Description.
6/24/2017: Just had my local public library use the 3D printer donated by my colleague Friends of the Library to print up a copy of the Mount Vernon Bastille Key: Took them 6 hours (3 hours per side) and cost me $6.
Note: designer made key totally symmetric. It’s not; the alignment ridge is supposed to be only on the left side. Also, the printed key is 8 ¾ inches long, versus the real key’s 7 ½ inches. Some of the ridges are also slightly rounded versus square. Nevertheless, pretty cool! 3D Print Tutorial REF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIASyrInaxA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIPYMdxw4qU
excellent tutorials on keys and locks from Jock Dempsey and John Chubb
Independence Hall key; same length as Mount Vernon Bastille Key
Replica key ("Philomena") made of wrought iron.
Looking outside through keyhole; notice stop, which aligned key but prevented key opening from outside.
Bit in shape of #2. By definition, a key "2" the Bastille?!
Hmmm, replica is probably cast steel or highly refined cast iron....
Madame Tussauds Bastille Keys
Note: I found the above "'exact representation' of the key," published in the "Massachusetts Magazine," after the key was presented to George Washington. So far I have found other newspaper articles but none other with accompanying drawings.
Research on 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior
Link to Original Handwritten Notes (printed cover says GW 14 or 15 years old)
Link to WikiSource saying GW wrote Rules around 1744 (making him 12 years old)
Link to GW's Copybook around 1745 (13 years old; note slightly improved handwriting over Rules?; Rules earlier?)
Note: Is the author of this Rules Preface wrong (he says Rules were written when GW was 13, based upon 1745 date on one of the pages)? But he also says GW wrote Journal when he was 16 years old and 1 month; In March 1747, IMHO, GW would have been 15 years old and 1 month!
Link to GW's" A Journal of my Journey over the Mountains,"
begun 11 March 1748 (GW 16 years old), but Diary begins 11 February 1777.
School copybooks extend to age 15.
Link to Transcript: Preface: "Washington s Journal here given to the public, if we except his version of the " Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation," is the earliest literary effort of this, the most admirable character in all history."
Comments welcome to wbahr at mail dot com
I have been challenged to find evidence of a relatively recent assertion that, following Washington’s display of the Bastille Key, newspapers across the country ran an "'exact representation' of the key, splayed out in grim silhouette." While I have copies of several newspaper articles at the time about the key, none has a drawing. The Library of Congress tells me that any such drawing would be rare. No response yet from the person asserting this claim, despite several requests. As I laboriously begin to search through microfilms, any help finding a copy of such a newspaper article would be appreciated. Thanks!
Bastille Day 2002 – West Point (United States Military Academy) cadets lead parade; "Duty, Honor, Country," one version of Washington's three key requirements for Liberty.
David Wood's "Justice: A Dane and Bones Origins Story" novel mentioning the Mount Vernon Bastille Key
Two slave shackles with keys courtesy of Andy Maglio of Action Lock & Key
Used to connect chain links. Small shackle to the left has key inserted.
Here's a video of Place de la Bastille, worth a thousand pictures, worth a thousand (French) words? 3/3/2017
Here's a "Paris 3D: Through the Ages" video of the Bastille (start at 9:52) and many other iconic Paris structures 3/3/207
21 Jan 2017
55 is also the number of delegates to the Constitutional Convention, of which 39 signed.
1 Jan 2017
Mention is made in the book that Europe (specifically Paris) is 4,000 miles away from NYC. Other history books like to say that the distance is 3,000 miles. Actually, as Dave the Dove of Peace flies, Paris is 3,627 miles away (round up to 4,000) from NYC, London being a little closer at 3,470 miles (round down?). However, also consider the actual sailing routes, as pictured on page 95. Note that the southern sailing route could almost be described as a right-angle triangle of the 3, 4, 5 variety, with the Dove of Peace measurement being the hypotenuse (5). In this case, then the alternative distance is 3 + 4 or 7, which is 7/5 or 40% longer than the 5 hypotenuse. 140% of 3,627 miles is 5,078 miles. Let's pretend we rounded the 5 route down to 3,000 miles. The average then between 3,000 miles and 5,000 miles is 4,000 miles!
XMAS 2016 Present (as received from a reader in Italy)
If you bought a copy of the book and would like a bookmark and/or self-adhesive bookplate (author's signature + your preferred inscription), just send a self-addressed stamped #10 (business - 9.5 x 4 inch) envelop to the publisher of the book (address on book's page ii) along with your request.
“Washington is the mightiest name of earth – long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty, still mightiest in moral reformation. . . . To add brightness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor leave it shining on.” ̶ Abraham Lincoln
Philadelphia June 10th 1792
My dear Sir,
In the revolution of a great Nation we must not be surprized at the Vicissitudes to which We are however anxious that the horrors of war may be avoided, if possible, and the rights of man, so well understood & so permanently fixed, as while despotic oppression is avoided on the one hand, licentiousness may not be substituted for liberty or confusion take place of order, on the other. The just medium cannot be expected to be found in a moment, the first vibrations always go to the extremes, and cool reason, which can alone establish a permanent & equal government, is as little to be expected in the tumults of popular commotions, as an attention to the liberties of the people is to be found in the dark Divan of a despotic tyrant.
Comment from Scott Klemm (antique key expert): 11/17/16
Scott Klemm: Thanks, Bill !!! I was glad to be of help. Your book will be a genuine contribution to both American and lock & key histories. (Bill's comment: check out Scott's own great books on antique keys: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4688070.Scott_J_Klemm )
Comment from Brian Sandman: 11/17/16
Brian Sandman: It doesn't appear this Keyway Escutcheon was used for the Key Profile shown in the Cover Picture ?
Bill Bahr: Good eyes -- you are correct! I plead "artistic license"! A matter of combining a replica brass key without the real key's side "ridge" with a likely keyhole for the real key with a door and its escutcheon partially hidden by the keyhole. Thanks for your comment!
Brian Sandman: ...worked for the Federal Government and Inspected Federal Facilities for Locks, Keys, Doors, Vaults and Sight reading. Good Graphic though for your Book.
Comment from Brian Sandman: 11/21/16
The Bastille Key is a Bridge Ward cut. It is for use from both sides of the Door. This Keyhead T shape is used for help in the constant turning motion of the key. It helps to add torque and lessen the strain on the Jailors wrist.
"Madam Secretary" on CBS talks about the
importance of Washington's Bastille Key
on Season 3, Episode 5: "The French Revolution" @ 15:45 of 42.24. Click photo for link.
Madame Tussaud's 5-7 October 2012 Best Western Exhibition
Louis 16th's Private Forge at Versailles
Louis 16th and the Locksmith by Joseph Caraud The Forge of King Louis 16th by Joseph Caraud
Louis 16th and Gamain at Versailles forge.
GW pictures and comment from Scott Klemm 11/21/2016
Here's a picture of George Washington's keys from an oil on canvas painting. It is at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. Huntington's label states that it's probably a copy of the original Charles Peale portrait done by a French artist. The keys can be seen hanging just below his waistcoat (vest) on the left hand side of the picture. Keys are likely barrel (hollow shaft) keys, probably for his most valuable, personal chest or camp storage trunk.
Bastille Size and Dimensions
Background for pages 29-30 of "George Washington's Liberty Key," which discuss Bastille dimensions and size.
Note: I discovered Wikipedia/ Wikiwand has a newly made entry on its Bastille page which mentions Bastille measurements. Unfortunately, I have not been able to publicly comment there that one reference, Schama, does not mention measurements on the cited page (or anywhere else that I can see). I am trying to obtain copies of the other two references (in French) cited. I have mentioned to the page editor that I have the engineering drawings (see below), which cite the measurements, but to no avail. IMHO, the dimensions currently given on the Wikipedia page are ambiguous (they don't say at what points the measurements were made; the building was irregular) and thus misleading. You can make your own measurements from the drawings below. 11/24/16
Note: I am re-measuring. More tomorrow. 11/29/16
Earlier measurements I took for the first book printing were with a ruler in inches/millimeters, which I converted to toises. I decided to construct a scale(s) with just toises, then do the conversions to feet, which should give me more direct and thus more accurate estimates. These new estimates will be in the next printing of the book, along with the refined description of the Lincoln Memorial dimensions.
Here's what I measured on 12/1/16
Here's what I measured on 12/20/2016
Comment: Given the diagram details, the A.J. Mathieu
(engineer; with Edme Verniquet, architect) measurements appear to be the most accurate of the
three taken before the destruction of the Bastille. As well, the added dimension of height allows one to see the
varying measurements of width/depth/length at various heights. Expanded scales (scales "photoshopped"
together to give longer length like a "tape meausre") were overlaid on Bastille to allow the finely graduated portion to determine exact length. Bottom line, one notes the interpretations of the measurements of the three engineers/architects agreed with each other on various measurements between 93% and 100%. As one is not sure what Cathala and Palloy were measuring at various heights compared to Mathieu, one could, therefore, take a tolerant view and say that they generally all agreed with one another. Note transposition between width to length and depth to width on Mathieu map.
Original scale at bottom of maps. 1 toise = 6 pieds du roi = 6.39 feet. 1 meter = 3.28 feet
Scales were duplicated, added, and expanded for measurement.
All this is summarized on pages 29-30 of "George Washington's Liberty Key" by William J. Bahr
General comment: It is not always easy to judge building dimensions, as evidenced by modern-day disputes over what is the floor-space in a home or which is the tallest building in the world. Does the building have an antenna? Is the antenna part of the structure or just an add-on? See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tallest_buildings_and_structures
Now we know that the Bastille was an "irregular" structure, not rectangular but with at least six distinct sides. We also know that the foundation (approximately 20 feet high/deep) was exposed when the moat was not filled with water. So, is it or is it not a part of the height measurement which would include the remaining 80 feet, thus making the height 100 feet? You can also see from below that the battlements jutted out, just as did the base (maybe a better term than foundation). My rough or rounded numbers try to take this into account, leaving one with a physical impression one can use when comparing the Bastille to current buildings. Hope this helps!
40 meter front face (about 130 feet) if measuring at angle (the hypotenuse; tilt vertical scale to left as shown).
Palloy map with annotation courtesy of Jim Chevallier (Toises scale at bottom left)
Chateau de Tarascon (Brother to the Bastille?) diagram
Legend : 1. Input Court 2- 3- 4- Pont Courtyard of Honor Staircase Dungeon 5- 6- 7- Clock Tower Tour Chapels 8- 9- Great Chapel Chapel Singers 10- southwest Tour Paneterie 11- 12- 13- feasts Hall Tower Artillery Home 14- 15- 16- pantry Echansonnerie Paneterie 17- 18- 19- Saucerie Fruiterie 20- 21- Barnyard Tour Marie 22- 23- Tour Tour of stair walkway.
Here's what is on Wikipedia (French version) 12/11/16 Says 66 long x 34 wide x 24 meters high.
Despite my several attempts to update, here is what's on Wikipedia 12/11/16
Here is Wikipedia's reference 9:
Muzerelle does have the cited dimensions on page 14, but no description as to how they were derived. There is a drawing on page 21 in toises, which does not seem to correlate. I am still trying to understand its graphic dimensions in terms of what Muzerelle claims on page 14. Below are the cited references to Viollet and Schama, which clearly have absolutely no dimensions!!! The only cited Muzerelle page (page 14) with dimensions called out is reproduced below with a translation. Anybody know how to inform the Wikipedia Bastille Page Editor????
No dimensions? Simon Schama: "Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution"
No dimensions? Eugene Viollet, "Dictionnaire....", page 172
Boxed text: "Cette bastille Saint-Antoine, desormais composee de huit tours, hautes de 24 m, reunies par des courtines de meme hauteur, formait un rectangle de 68 m sur 37 m, entoure d'un fosse, offrant un modele architectural nouveau qui devait rencontrer un certain succes au cours du siecle suivant."
Translation of boxed text: "This Bastille Saint-Antoine, now composed of eight towers, 24 m [78.7 feet] high, joined by curtains of the same height, formed a rectangle of 68 m [223 feet] by 37 m [121.4 feet], surrounded by a pit, offering a new architectural model which was to meet some success in the next century."
No explanation is given as to how these measurements were made, especially the 68 meter (223 feet) dimension.
Bottom line: What was the size of the Bastille? What were the dimensions of the Bastille?
"The Bastille's maximum outside dimensions, measured at the building's base:
approximately 260 feet long, 130-150 wide (ends, middle), and 100 feet high. The
base (the exposed foundation), which was sometimes covered with moat water, was
20 feet high, with walls being 80 feet, making the total height 100 feet. This
maximum dimension takes into account the protrusions of the towers and their
battlements, as well as the widened footings at the base. The building was
irregular, more of a hexagon than a rectangle, hence the difference between
middle and ends. It's possible that some would want to look for dimensions just
at the interior; however, that itself was also irregular, with the addition of
various additions and apartments. The above dimensions were arrived at by
extending (duplicating and adding them together to form a "tape measure" by
photo-shopping) the original engineering/architect/contractor (Mathieu/Cathala/Palloy)
drawing/diagram scales and overlaying them on the diagrams."
–– William J. Bahr Reference: pp 29-30, "George Washington's Liberty Key"
Our size of the Bastille
Our dimensions of the Bastille
Find out why the Lincoln Memorial is so amazingly and remarkably "magical" on page 193 of the book!
12 Miles SW and over river from Bastille to
Versailles and from Lincoln Memorial to Mount Vernon.
But what is even more amazing?! Check out page 193....
BTW, here are the NPS Lincoln Memorial
I have asked the NPS to clarify their acreage for the Memorial to within that of the Lincoln Memorial Parkway Circle. I have recalculated, and believe my numbers are correct, with your opportunity to verify yourself below for this and other Bastille-related measurements. As regards, Lincoln Memorial measurements, note roof overhang beyond the pillars, which likely accounts for different dimensions cited.
Bastille and Lincoln Memorial relationship to be further developed in upcoming book "Lincoln's Bastille."
Another "Washington Monument," this one a cellphone tower off I-55 in Ridgeland, TX:
Washington's Birthplace Monument
55 feet tall.
Pope's Creek, VA.
End of dimension discussion.
11 August 1790 thank you letter from Washington to Lafayette
Treaty of Paris ending American Revolutionary War
A= Azores; M = Madeira; C = Canary
Islands; S = Barbados (where Washington went to help his brother Lawrence);
E = St. Eustatius (Dutch Island which gave Revolutionary War's American Navy its "first salute," located just 20 miles NW of St. Kitts/Nevis, where Alexander Hamilton was born and grew up); B = Bermuda.
Shown is alternative return to America taking more southern route than shorter Canary Islands to Bermuda route.
Hurricane development (high
pressure rushes towards low pressure and is right-shifted by earth's rotation)
See book Sources section for explanatory video!
Executioner showing head of guillotined Louis 16th to the crowd
Dr. Dick was in attendance at George
Scales at George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
Psychological categorization: Washington (analytical driver?); Lafayette (expressive driver?)
Clock (circle) at top of modern building in Bastille
Outline of Bastille in pavers on Paris street
Arrow likely pointing to Bastille's Treasury Tower outline in cobblestones
Courtesy of Nicolas Melnyk www.BastilleFortress.com
Houel Bastille Cell Release of Prisoners
Portion of Liberty Tower reconstructed at Henri Galli Square
Bastille stop at Paris Metro with themes of the French Revolution
Key recently found in Mount Vernon's old kitchen refuse pile
"Character, Culture, Constitution"
Two original editions (Paron Weems and William Bahr) at the Fred Smith Mount Vernon Library!
Revolutionary War Blacksmith 5 Minute Video
1790, a good year, a good price! If you don't have Amazon Prime, to help us break even a "bit" quicker, please buy book at same price at https://www.createspace.com/6529763
Do I need better credit attribution for above materials? Please let me know immediately, and I will correct. Thanks!
Buy Book with Amazon's "author-friendly" CreateSpace e-Store
Buy Book (Amazon Prime Members)
(same price, but for limited time Amazon Prime Members offered $5 discount on $15 book purchase)
Our size of the Bastille
Our dimensions of the Bastille
Now available at the Mount Vernon Gift Shop
Copyright, W. Bahr, 2015-17
Return to Bastille Key