Obama rug

Obama Oval Office rugVisitor Mark A has sent me a fantastic picture of the 23 x 30-foot Obama rug for the Oval Office, created by Scott Group Custom Carpets, the same company that created previous carpets for the Oval Office, State Dining Room, and (I believe) Air Force One.

I was able to straighten it out and create a simulated overhead view that is very convincing and fairly high resolution. This adds to our little collection of recreations that include the Bush 2, Clinton, and Reagan rugs, but this is certainly the best of them. Thanks to Mark and special thanks to the Scott Group!

Ship discovered, lives saved by president’s desk

HMS Enterprise and HMS Investigator

Here’s an interesting development. The HMS Investigator, a rescue ship abandoned in the ice in 1853 while in search of the doomed Franklin expedition to find a northwest passage thru the arctic, has just been discovered again, mostly intact. What does this have to do with the president’s desk?

Another of the rescue ships was HMS Resolute, which rescued the crew of Investigator before itself being trapped by ice and abandoned. But the Resolute was found two years later in an ice floe by whaler USS George Henry. She was purchased by the US government, refitted, and returned to the UK as a gesture of courtesy.

When Resolute was retired in 1879, the British government, in appreciation for the American efforts and ongoing friendship, had part of her timbers crafted into a large partner (that is, two-sided) desk for President Hayes as well as a lady’s desk for the widow of Henry Grinnell, an American who had privately funded part of the search for Franklin, and another used aboard Queen Victoria’s yacht.

The presidential Resolute Desk has occupied the president’s office or study in the White House for nearly all the time since its gifting in 1880.

It would be interesting to see Investigator restored and refitted, perhaps with some of her timbers removed and made into something else.

Your refreshing beverage, Mr. President

Peter Sharkey writes:

I was watching Who Wants to be a Millionaire yesterday and a contestant was able to work all the way up to the Million-dollar question and that question was:

For ordering his favorite beverages on demand, LBJ had four buttons installed in the Oval Office labeled “coffee,” “tea,” “Coke” and what? A. Fresca, B. V8, C. Yoo-hoo, D. A&W” Basin answered Yoo Hoo which was wrong, and lost the $1,000,000 prize money.

I thought it was an interesting tidbit of info.

Oh, man. I totally knew that one.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: LBJ was the crazy uncle of American presidents. Policies aside, I would be just like him. “More water pressure! Shut off those lights! I’ve named my dogs after pronouns! I named by daughter after myself! I don’t trust a man unless I’ve got his @#$%#$ in my pocket!”

Oval Office ceiling medallion

Visitor MAC sent a note asking about the ceiling of the Oval Office. The two photos I have—both of which are from replicas in presidential museums, I’m pretty sure—show the Seal of the President of the United States with the eagle facing the olive branch. MAC wondered if this was changed by Truman and if he also changed the number of stars in it, and also why the medallion uses 8-pointed stars rather than 5-pointed stars used elsewhere. I don’t know the answers to these questions, so I put it to you, the White House enthusiasts at large.

Nerd pride

I’m rather proud–in a way that only readers of this blog can appreciate–of a little addition to the Oval Office page, a picture of Bill Clinton’s rug that I digitally warped to appear flat from overhead and partially reconstructed. I found a nice source pic of a repro on display at the Clinton Birthplace.

This is the rug that Laura told The Scotsman was “loud,” but I would say it’s my third favorite, after the rugs of Reagan and Bush 2.