Obama Introduces Steampunk Decor to the White House

Posted by Michael Pinto on Jan 5, 2010 in Tech |

An early telegraph

President Obama has been slowly redecorating the Oval Office at the White House — and of course there are the usual bits of history and family photos, but this geeky gem caught my eye:

“Also new to the Obama bookshelves are three mechanical devices on loan from the National Museum of American History’s patent collection: models for Samuel Morse’s 1849 telegraph register, John Peer’s 1874 gear-cutting machine and Henry Williams’ 1877 feathering paddle wheel for steamboats.”

According to White House curator William Allman the models fit the President’s interests in American history, technology and the creative spirit. From a nerd perspective this makes sense given the fact that the President wouldn’t give up his Blackberry upon taking office.

Sadly I looked online at the National Museum of American History and couldn’t find an image of the telegraph register or gear-cutting machine, but I did find this great photo of the paddle wheel patent model from 1877:

Henry William's 1877 feathering paddle-wheel patent model

However while my quest for the gear-cutting machine was for naught, I did come across this wonderful patent drawing that John Peer created a rollable knife sharpener he invented in 1891:

 John Peer invented the rollable knife sharpener in 1891

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