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Gavel, Senate

Senate Gavel
by Unidentified
Ivory, silver, n.d.
Overall measurement
      Height: 2.63 inches  (6.7 cm)
      Diameter: 1.5 inches  (3.8 cm)
Cat. no. 71.00001.000

Perhaps the most revered historic artifact in the Senate is the gavel. This small, handleless piece of solid ivory was used by the Senate’s presiding officers from around the late 18th/early 19th century until a late night debate in 1954, when the gavel fell apart as Vice President Richard Nixon called the Senate to order. Having already been reinforced once—with silver pieces attached to both ends—the gavel was immediately replaced with a near-replica provided by the government of India.

When the Senate is in session the replacement gavel is used to call the chamber to order.