|Benjamin Franklin's Desk
(Official Photograph: The White House)
Click here to enlarge desk image
For ceremonies surrounding enactment of the Postal Reorganization Act on August 12, 1970, a postal inspector transported the mahogany kneehole desk believed to be the first used in the home of Benjamin Franklin to the office of Postmaster General Winton M. Blount. Plans called for President Richard M. Nixon to sign the act into law at the desk, but the desk's high back blocked the view of television cameras so a plain table was used.
After the event the President, the Postmaster General, and six former Postmasters General posed behind the desk. The new law, P.L. 375, and the seals of the new Postal Service and old Post Office Department were displayed. From left to right: J. Edward Day, Arthur E. Summerfield, W. Marvin Watson, James A. Farley, the President, Mr. Blount, Lawrence F. O'Brien, and John A. Gronouski.
The kneehole desk was made in Philadelphia around 1755, when Franklin was serving as Joint Postmaster General for the Crown. Today it can be seen in the Underground Museum of Franklin Court in Philadelphia.