A Bristol Borough company has once again designed the official inaugural gifts for the incoming President and Vice President.
Lenox, a 100-year-old tableware company based on Racliffe Street, has been creating custom gifts for eight inaugurations, beginning with George H. W. Bush’s oath of office in 1989.
Crafters from the company work for months to make sure the two crystal bowls they present to the country’s new President and Vice President will encapsulate the incoming administration and American people.
The individual designs were approved by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies before being made for incoming President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Peter O’Rourke, a master glass cutter, worked with Timothy Carder, Lenox’ vice president of design, to design the hand-cut, etched crystal bowls. The bowl crafted for Trump features an illustration of the White House on one side and the Jefferson Memorial on the other. Pence’s bowl features an illustration of the U.S. Capitol on one side and the Lincoln Memorial on the other. Both of the bowls feature compass rose cut into the base that aligns with the cardinal directions of the illustrations, officials said.
Inspiration for the bowls came directly from the work of Pierre L’Enfant, a famed engineer and architect who laid out Washington D.C., and pioneering surveyorAndrew Ellicott, according to Lenox.
The final creation of the gifts, from design to production, took five months and began even before election day.
The new President and Vice President will receive their gifts at the Inaugural Luncheon that will be held Friday afternoon inside the Capitol Building.
“It is my pleasure to accept Lenox’s official gift for the 58th Inaugural Ceremonies,” Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said in a statement. “Lenox has once again created a thoughtful and beautifully-crafted gift fitting of this historic occasion, and I look forward to presenting it to the President and Vice President on behalf of the American people.”
“Lenox is honored to have been the first American china to be used in the White House and to have been selected as the designer and manufacturer of choice for the past 28 years to produce the inaugural commemorative gift for the President and Vice President of the United States of America,” said Katrina Helmkamp, CEO of Lenox.
O’Rourke, who has been carving glassware and crystal for more than 40 years, explained that creating the bowls was a very delicate process. He explained that the right amount of pressure had to be used to make sure the etching was deep enough but not enough to ruin the gifts.