Visitor 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!
The White House posted a great new collection of photos on the official Flickr feed several days ago. They include not only interesting angles in the new Oval Office, but glimpses of the Dip Room, the state floor rooms, the Cabinet Room, and even the Oval Office Patio. I’ll be adding some of those to the site in the coming days.
I’ve changed the front page to the new Oval Office.
Hey! The White House changed the Oval Office decor yesterday! It’s a subtle change, but it looks good. (Thanks to Bob M for the tip and to all those who noted it!)
There aren’t any photos of it up on the White House official stream, so I’m looking for the best source pics to add to the Oval Office page.
PS Thanks for all the birthday wishes!
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.
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!”
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.
I’ve changed the front page to one featuring the new president entering the Oval Office on day 1. As usual, you can peruse old front pages in the gallery.
Here is a link to a Texas Country Reporter video about Ron Wade’s home replica of the Oval Office. Fantastic.
(Thanks to George and to Pete.)
The Obamas visited the White House today to talk transition. The event happens to afford us the best view I’ve seen of the Bush 2 Oval Office rug border.
There’s also a nice pic of the incoming and outgoing first ladies in the West Sitting Hall.
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.