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Revolutionary Technology

Hamilton & Washington Walking Tour New York City

Just as having access to technology on the go is important in modern times, surprisingly, the same can be said for revolutionary times.  Both George Washington and Alexander Hamilton put current “laptop” technology to good use for their military, political and private correspondence.  The 18th Century equivalents of laptop computers, these elegant and well-crafted portable desks provided the convenience of a writing surface along with storage compartments for pens, ink, stationary and documents.  United States history was imagined and created on these laptops.2016-08-04_18h43_06


George Washington, Commander-in-Chief, used his laptop (above) during the Revolutionary War to stay in touch with army officials and Congress.  The laptop is made of mahogany and black leather with storage for documents and stationary and a hinged lid which swings down to reveal a small writing surface and compartments.




With over 20,000 pages of documents to his name including personal and professional correspondence, military writings, political writing, Treasury documents and 51 of the 85 Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton must have put these two desks to good use.  The mahogany and brass desks unfold to reveal a slanted writing surface.  There is a storage compartment underneath and on the top and convenient drawers on the side(on the top desk).

Photos from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the New-York Historical Society


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