Making some of the most important decisions in history cannot be easy and calls for the right environment in which to work. We look at 15 most influential desks where these moments of pure inspiration and relevance occurred.
1. Bill Gates’ Desk
The birthplace of the modern day computer, the office of Bill Gates has very little paper. He used three monitors to get his work done for Microsoft. Gates does maintain one ‘low-tech’ item of office equipment in his office – a whiteboard which he says is great for brainstorming.
Image source: CNN
2. Resolute Desk – Home of the President
The Resolute desk, by far one of the most famous desks in the modern 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. If this desk could talk, what national secrets would it tell?
Image source: Wikipedia
3. Hitler’s Desk
Probably the most evil workstation in history, this is Adolf Hitlers’ desk from his headquarters during World War II. With a framed photo of the dictator himself and a Nazi flag, Hitler would plan military strategies, write speeches and sign documents that would lead to mass genocide.
Image source: My Dorset
4. Einstein’s Desk
It seems being the world’s most famous theoretical physicist does not go hand in hand with cleanliness. Einsteins’ desk is a mess of papers, books and (of course) his pipe. Still writing equations on his blackboard till the day he died, the Nobel Prize winner came up with theories we still use today, right here.
Image source: Erenow
5. Steve Wozniak/Steve Jobs Desk
The office of the brains behind the Apple computer empire looks more like a garage. 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. Propped up with breeze blocks, electrical equipment everywhere and a skateboard? You know what they say “all work and no play….”
Image source: Wired
6. Shakespeare’s Desk
To write or not to write, that is the question Shakespeare faced in this grand office where he penned some of the greatest plays in history. Located at his former home in Stratford upon-Avon, his office is packed with books and paintings. His large desk has been host to love, tragedy and betrayal.
Image source: Bookmania!
7. Warren Buffett’s Desk
For the biggest name in finance, you would be surprised to discover billionaire Warren Buffet’s office has no computer, no stock terminal or even a calculator. How does he make such big financial decisions? He keeps the television in his office tuned to the financial news network, CNBC, but the volume is muted.
Image source: OnceUSave
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. 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.
Image source: The Hindu
9. Charles Dickens Desk
This desk was home to some of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time including Great Expectations. Perfect for writing with its sloping desktop, inkwell and plenty of draws to hold Dickens’ stories. The desk and chair in which he sat was sold in auction in 2008 for £433,250 ($894,000US).
Image source: Christies
10. Winston Churchill’s Desk
As well as being the Prime Minister during WWII, Churchill was also an avid painter and writer. Here we see him writing his memories of his heroic time in office. With his signature round glasses and cigar, those stack of papers hold the mind of one of Britain’s greatest national treasures.
Image source: Life
From technological geniuses to poets and physicists, peace seekers to maniacal war criminals, we all need a space to work. But the big question is did their desk dictate their decisions? Have a look at your own workspace and see if it could propel you to be an historical icon.