Friday, November 28, 2008

The Desk in the Oval Office

Not many people know the story of the British contribution to the Oval office. Clear back in 1850, the Royal navy obtained a 500 ton sailing ship to take part in an artic expedition. It was named the Resolute, and had a polar bear for a figurehead. In 1853, it got stuck in the ice, and it's had to abandon ship.Over a year later, an American found the Resolute, somehow managed to free it from the ice, and sailed it back to the States.By the this time, Her Majesty's government had abandonded any claim to the vessel. Well, HMG got a pleasant surprise- the American government fixed the Resolute up, and in 1856 sailed it back to the UK, and presented it to Queen Victoria as a goodwill gesture. Give Queen Victoria (and her government) some credit- when the Resolute was finally decommissioned in 1879, somebody salvaged enough timber to make a *really* fine looking desk- which Queen Victoria presented to President Rutherford B. Hayes as *another* goodwill gesture. Almost every American President to the present day has put it to good use.

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