The story of the desk goes back to 1855 when a whaler named George Henry found the abandoned ship the H.M.S. Resolute off Baffin Island in the Arctic. The ship was returned to England and served the British Navy for many more years. After England finally decommissioned the ship, its oak timbers were used to create a desk weighing more than 1,000 pounds. Given by Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880, this desk has been used on the Second Floor of the White House, the Ground Floor, and, most notably, the Oval Office.
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