WASHINGTON — As President Joe Biden delivered his second State of the Union address before Congress on Tuesday night, attention quickly turned to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the silver display in front of him.
Some turned to social media to ask questions.
"What’s that silver thing in front of McCarthy? It looks like the salt, pepper, and chili flake holders at Pizza Inn from back in the day," one user tweeted.
"What’s the silver thing in front of McCarthy? A crown?" another user asked.
What was the silver display in front of McCarthy during Biden's State of the Union address?
According to the House of Representatives website, it's a coin-silver inkstand that is placed in the rostrum before the speaker calls each session of the House to order. It was created sometime around 1815 by Jacob Leonard.
"The inkstand is considered the oldest surviving artifact of the House and was made between 1810 and 1820," the House website said. "Although its origins are mysterious, it most likely came into the House around 1819. The inkstand is stamped with the mark of J. Leonard, a Washington silversmith and watchmaker."
The inkstand, which is over 200 years old, contains three replacement crystal inkwells and is adorned on both sides by swags and eagles, according to the website.
"The feet of the tray take the form of fasces with snakes winding around them, classical symbols of unity and wisdom, respectively," the House website's description reads.
Last year, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris sat behind Biden, marking the first time two women sat on the dais during a State of the Union address.
Travis Pittman contributed to this report.