To meet the needs of public speakers in business and elsewhere, IBM's Time Equipment Division brought to market in 1954 a state-of-the-art multifunctional lectern. The lectern offered a number of useful features, including a clock with edge-lighted dial, a speech time warning light, indirect table lighting with control switch, a speech timer with edge-lighted dial, satin chrome side-mounts for microphones, push-button elevation of the lectern, push-button adjustment of the table's angle, and a removable console unit.
The lectern was 47 inches high in its lowest position, 30 inches wide and 24 ¾ inches deep. Constructed in walnut veneer, it had five additional mounts to provide for broadcasting and recording microphones when needed. A special cable "chimney" hid microphone wires that ordinarily would hang in front of the lectern.
The base section provided ample cabinet space for installing additional equipment, such as a tape recorder, amplifier, record player or TV monitor.
Actually, this 1954 offering wasn't IBM's first experience with executive lecterns. In the early 1940s, the company presented U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt with a special shielded lectern to be used at his inauguration.
In 1964, the U.S. Government informed IBM that the presidential lectern required repair and that it was needed for the January 1965 inauguration of President Lyndon B. Johnson. IBM's Systems Development and Systems Manufacturing Division in Endicott, N.Y. completely rebuilt and refinished it in just 20 days. That lectern had a 1/8 inch steel shield mounted inside its outer shell, and just inside the outer shell was a second steel shield which, in case of emergency, could be raised approximately 23 inches in one second by compressed air -- making the total shield 66 inches high.