The Jefferson Lap Desk

Saturday, September 12, 2020
Presented by: Leonard Butler
Virtual Meeting Available

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Date: September 12, 2020

9:30 AM Meeting link active
10:00 AM Meeting begins
12:00 PM Adjourn

Can you believe it? The laptop will be 40 years old next year! It’s true; the first laptop was invented by Adam Osborne in 1981. What would we do without this device? We can write historic letters; compose documents civilizations will reference for centuries; and, with the right software, make drawings of important buildings and other innovations; all this capability in a small lightweight easy-to-carry package.

Our speaker for September, Mr. Lenny Butler, would dispute those first three sentences. Lenny has recently built an exact replica of Thomas Jefferson’s laptop desk that can do all of the things listed above without software and without batteries. Thomas Jefferson designed the desk and had it built a hundreds of years before the laptop computer existed. After drafting the Declaration of Independence on it, Jefferson used the desk throughout his years in France, his time as secretary of state, as vice president, and as the nation’s third president.

In our usual/unusual September virtual meeting, Lenny will describe the woodworking challenges that went into building the desk, Jefferson’s 50-year history with his wooden laptop, and the controversy surrounding duplicates/replicas.

Fine Woodworking’s Sept/Oct 2020 article about Lenny and his desk tells the very interesting back-story of how Lenny’s desk came to be. Here’s a link to the article that you may want to read before Saturday’s meeting.

About the Presenter

Leonard Butler