Senate Gavels


Old gavel: maker unknown
New gavel: gift of the government of India

Old gavel: ivory, circa 1789
New gavel: ivory, 1954
Size: 2 1/2" h. x 1 3/8" dia.
Old gavel: catalog no. 71.00001
New gavel: catalog no. 71.00002

Senate chamber



U.S. Senate Collection
Office of Senate Curator

The gavel used by the president of the Senate is made of ivory, and is uniquely shaped; it has no handle. The present gavel, which has an intricate carved center band, and was presented to the Senate by the government of India in 1954, after the old gavel splintered during a debate. The earlier gavel was already in use by 1834, and according to one account, Vice President John Adams used it to call the the first Senate to order in New York City. That gavel has silver plates affixed to either end.

Both gavels are kept together in a special wooden box that is brought to the Senate chamber before each day's session.