HOOVER BECOMES 1ST PRESIDENT TO HAVE A PHONE IN THE OVAL
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Eighty-eight years ago today, March 29, 1929, a telephone was installed in the Oval Office for the first time. President Herbert Hoover, who had been inaugurated earlier in the month, was the beneficiary of the installation.
It was President Rutherford B. Hayes, however, who had the very first telephone installed at the White House in 1878, but it was located in the foyer outside the President's office. At the time, the office was located in the main part of the mansion. The Oval Office was not built until after the turn of the century.
The first Oval Office telephone set, manufactured by Western Electric, was placed on President Hoover's desk, although it "took a while to get the line...working correctly." Mr. Hoover's son was, for a time, unable to connect with his father from an outside line.
The telephone President Franklin D. Roosevelt used in the Oval Office was a Western Electric 202 which had no dial. President Harry S Truman had a Western Electric 302 with a manual dial while President Dwight D. Eisenhower was presented with a manual Western Electric 500 set trimmed in gold on November 18, 1953.
President John F. Kennedy was the first Chief Executive to use the ultra modern Western Electric Call Director telephone. This manual dial desk set included rows of 18 buttons by which JFK could connect with 18 different individuals directly.
Herbert Hoover's Oval Office Telephone