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The Ohio Clock

Eleven feet tall, this richly-grained mahogany clock is one of the most recognized pieces of furniture in the Capitol. It is known as the Ohio Clock, but no one knows why. Ordered in 1815, the stately clock is adorned with a shield containing 17 stars and 17 stripes, leading some to conclude that it was named for the 17th state, Ohio. But Ohio became a state in 1803, and two more states were admitted by the time the Senate commissioned this piece. Another theory rests upon an 1897 Harper's Weekly illustration, showing Ohio senator Marcus Hanna posing near the clock. Unfortunately, no evidence has been found to confirm that Hanna's stance near the timepiece was anything but coincidental. Still, for a reason yet to be discovered, the clock is named for the state of Ohio.