Link of the week

Wikipedia’s List of Oval Office Desks

It’s one of the toughest jobs in the world – the President of the United States.  The country’s chief executive is called upon day after day to make economic, political, military and a host of other decisions to guide the course of the nation.

So, you’d expect the Prez to have a pretty sweet desk.  You would be right.

This Wikipedia page catalogs the desks used by different presidents since the Oval Office was completed during the presidency of William Howard Taft. There have only been five desks used in those more than 100 years of American Presidency.

The desk currently in the Oval Office is known as the Resolute desk.  It was built from the timbers of the HMS Resolute – a British ship caught in the Arctic ice and freed by sailors from an American whaling ship.  The desk was given to President Rutherford B. Hayes by Queen Victoria after the ship was struck from the fleet.

The first desk used in the Oval Office was the Theodore Roosevelt desk. President Taft moved it into the newly completed Oval Office where it stayed until the Eisenhower administration.

After President Kennedy’s assassination, President Lyndon Johnson had the Resolute desk put on exhibit at the Kennedy library, and had a desk built by the Senate Cabinet Shop.  Today, that desk can be found on display at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas.

President Richard Nixon moved the Wilson desk into the Oval Office after his inauguration.  Nixon mistakenly believed that the desk was the one used by President Woodrow Wilson when, in fact, it was actually used by President Ulysses Grant’s Vice President Henry Wilson.

And, President George H.W. Bush used what’s known as the C&O desk – a piece built in the 1920s for the president of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and donated to the White House where it can be found today  in the West Wing study.

Since the decorations in the Oval Office are selected by the incoming president at the beginning of his or her term, there is always the option of going with your very own desk.  Hmmm, I wonder if one day someone will have an Abram, Klausz or Spagnuolo desk in the Oval Office?

7 thoughts on “Link of the week”

  1. Nice article, Tom!

    The stand-up desk (also “standing desk”) has been used by many as well. In most recent memory, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld used one – see .

    Perhaps the most famous user of a stand-up desk was Thomas Jefferson. has a nice article about this, at

    I made one a while ago, for a local, high-profile client. You can read about it at

  2. Thanks for the article Tom, I knew about H.M.S. Resolute,
    but not about the desk. After seeing the other desks you
    have shown i think that President Obama has picked the
    best one of them all.

  3. I’m with you… Some of those other ones are just butt ugly.

    I think If I was elected Prez, I’d go cherry or Maple for my desk… Maybe both… And, yes, I’d give one of you Mooks the chance to build it for me! 🙂

  4. That first desk is really something.
    Some of the others are just big boxes.

    That was really interesting.
    Thanks Tom.

    “President Iovino”, hmmm. that does have a ring to it…

    Something tells me you’d be able to straighten this mess out !

  5. I notice in the last picture that Colin Powell not only keeps his telephone in a desk drawer but, it is in the bottom drawer! Is someone trying to tell us something?

    🙂 🙂 🙂


  6. It actually looks like Powell and Bush are playing a high tech version of tin can phone. With the string going through the desk …. just saying

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