Herbert Hoover obtained a phone call in the Oval Office over fifty year after the White House an initial got a switchboard

Corbin Fleming plays with President Obama"s workdesk phone in 2012. Wikimedia Commons

The White House very first got a telephone in 1877. Fifty-two year later, somebody ultimately thought to put one in the Oval Office.

President Rutherford B. Hayes first arranged to have a telephone installed in the White House, to write Stacy Conradt because that Mental Floss. Back then, the only alternative form of rapid interaction was the telegram. Yet it wasn’t until Herbert Hoover requested, simply after taking office, the a heat be placed in on his desk in the Oval Office the the room the was intended to it is in the facility of power had actually its own phone, write History.com.

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It to be “a extremely symbolic gesture,” writes historian Nathan Miller. “Previous executives assumed it undignified to speak indigenous the Oval Office top top the telephone.” they rarely offered the phone at all, that said.

Hoover’s phone call “made it clear that the new president to plan to take it command and control the the government; the lackadaisical Coolidge years to be over,” that writes. That put communications power in the hands of the president in a new way—though it’s precious noting the he was dependent on the initial White home switchboard, much as later on presidents would certainly be.

Previously, that was utilizing a call in the office foyer. “It take it a when to acquire the line to Hoover’s desk working correctly and the president complained to aides as soon as his kid was unable to acquire through top top the Oval Office phone indigenous an external line,” the website writes.

The chairman has had actually his very own phone ever before since. Yet the chairman didn’t have a exclusive line until 1993, as soon as President invoice Clinton “complained the anyone in the White House can listen in ~ above his calls by choose up an extension and pressing a button,” writes The Week. He had a point: his private calls could be monitored.

But it wasn’t some type of conspiracy, details a 1994 Wired article. No president prior to Clinton had ever requested a private line, wrote journalist Brock N. Meeks. “All Clinton had to perform was inquiry a exclusive line—he did—and that was mounted in a hour,” he wrote.

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Like any large government institution, the White house has constantly had a patchy relationship with the an innovation of the day. The White House historical Association reports that it didn’t have gas lighting till the 1850s, after numerous Americans, when the first typewriter come in 1880, ten year after the first commercial typewriter entered production.