10 Pics Of History's Most Influential Desks

All of these 10 desks helped to shape the world we live in today.

1. Bill Gates

The first thing you notice when you walk into this office is that there are three monitors on the desk that are synchronized from a single desktop computer. The next thing you notice is that there is very little paper. With his personalized computer system, the founder and CEO of Microsoft can easily move items from one screen to another at his whim. With such a large display area, who would ever be satisfied with a traditional one monitor system again?

Gates does, maintain one ‘low-tech’ item of office equipment in his office – a whiteboard which he says is great for brainstorming, whether alone or with others in the room. It is always fully stocked with lots of colored pens, and ready for action whenever a brilliant new idea begins to bubble to the surface.

2. Resolute Desk – Home of the President

When President Barack Obama took the oath of office nearly a year ago, he inherited more than a war, a bad economy and runaway unemployment. He also inherited the Oval Office and the Resolute desk, by far one of the most famous desks in the world. It was built from timber that was originally used in the British ship, Resolute. The desk was presented by Queen Victoria as a gift to President Rutherford B. Hayes.

The desk is now a fixture in the Oval Office of and has been used by almost every US president since Hayes. The exceptions are Presidents Lyndon Johnson, Nixon and Ford. Of the presidents who did use the Resolute desk, however, some chose to use it in their private studies rather than the more formal and historic Oval Office.

The desk was modified to accommodate President Franklin Roosevelt, who had it placed atop a two inch base to accommodate his wheelchair. Because he preferred that people not see his leg braces while tending to the business of running the nation, FDR had also requested that the kneehole be fitted with a modesty panel bearing the presidential seal. However, he passed away before it was actually installed.

3. Hitler’s Desk

Rumor has it that the desk members of the Dorset Regiment removed the desk used by Adolf Hitler during World War II from his headquarters and donated it to the regimental museum at the Keep in Dorchester, England. It is seen here as it appears in the museum, adorned with the Nazi flag, other Nazi memorabilia and a framed photo of the dictator, himself.

4. Einstein’s Desk

Life Magazine published these photos of the Princeton office used by Albert Einstein just a few months before his death in 1955. The paper strewn desk, the unkempt bookcases, the chalkboard displaying of equations, and even the pipe carelessly tossed on top of an notebook, capture the essence of the man who has become known as the world most renowned genius.

5. Steve Wozniak/Steve Jobs Desk

The office of the brains behind the Apple computer empire looks more like a garage, a warehouse, or perhaps even a refuse center. The King of the Nerds’ workspace is cluttered, and to the unenlightened eye, disorganized. However, in this case, a cluttered desk truly means a busy mind. Steve Wozniak reigns supreme in what most people would consider to be the messiest office on the planet… or is it his partner… the other computer geek named Steve – none other than Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs?

6. Shakespeare’s Desk

Although he never claimed authorship of the many plays now attributed to him during his lifetime, there is very little doubt that William Shakespeare actually wrote most of them at this very desk located in his home in Stratford upon-Avon

7. Warren Buffets Desk

You would be surprised to discover how ordinary billionaire Warren Buffet’s Omaha, Nebraska, office is. His office has no computer, no stock terminal or any of the other accessories one might expect to see in the office of a person as powerful as this. He doesn’t even have a calculator in his office. He keeps the television in his office tuned to financial news network, CNBC, but the volume is muted. While he sometimes takes a mobile phone with him when he travels, Buffet refuses to use one while in his home town. Instead, he uses two black telephones that sit unobtrusively on the cabinet behind his desk – both of which are direct lines to his Wall Street stock brokers in New York.

8. Gandhi Desk

The father of peaceful confrontation, Mahatma Gandhi had no computer or any of the other items now considered to be essential for an office or desk. In fact, he liked to sit on the floor. To accommodate this preference, he had a very low desk. Ghandi perched himself at his low slung desk to write letters to world leaders urging them to seek peaceful resolution to conflicts, including the famous letters to Adolf Hitler.

9. Charles Dickens Desk

When it was sold in auction last year, the desk used by Charles Dickens to write Great Expectations and all of his final correspondence just hours before his death brought in £433,250 ($894,000US).

The Irish entrepreneur who bought it said that the price was a bargain for a piece of literary history such as this.

10. Winston Churchill’s Desk

Toward the end of World War II, British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill asked the Prime Minister of Australian to send him a live Platypus for his amusement and to lift his spirits. Sadly, however, the animal, which was given the name ‘Winston,’ died before completing the long journey from Australia to England. Not to be dissuaded, Churchill contacted a taxidermist who stuffed the animal and kept it on his desk for the rest of the war.

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