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Why Obama used 22 pens for a single signature?

You must be aware that US president Obama signed the healthcare bill a couple of days back. But what you might not be aware of is the fact that he used not one or two but 22 different pens to sign the bill! Now that’s strange isn’t it? Even if he writes his complete name Barack Hussein Obama that comes out to be 18 characters. So that means he used more number of pens than letters in his name to sign the bill.

obama signing health care bill

Before you start blaming the White House stationery supplier, let me tell you the reason behind using so many pens.

The use of so many pens to sign was a result of a White House tradition wherein Presidents sign historical bills with multiple pens. The logic is clear. The pen used to sign a historical bill itself becomes historical and then these pens are given as souvenirs to people who played a vital role in creating the history.

The tradition was started by President Franklin Roosevelt and has been followed by others, though some, like George W. Bush, preferred signing bills with only one pen and then offering several unused "gift" pens as souvenirs.

If you think that 22 pens are too many for a signature, consider this- President Lyndon Johnson used 72 pens to sign the Civil Rights Act!

I was wondering how a signature looked like when signed with so many pens. So I searched for some picture showing Obama’s signature on the bill and finally I succeeded in getting one.

Obama's signature on health care bill

Just look at the letter ‘O’- it has so many breaks in it, indicating that the letters were not written in one shot. And for the record, it took one minute and 35 seconds to sign the bill !

Isn’t it interesting to know the various traditions that countries follows? There is one such interesting tradition followed in UK- you can receive birthday greeting from the Queen!!

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35 Responses to Why Obama used 22 pens for a single signature?

  1. ViJ@Y March 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Where Do U get these stuffs….

    Very Nice post……..keep penning

  2. Vinayak March 26, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    oh this is awesome
    and i am most shocked to see that Lyndon Johnson used 72 pens to sign
    this is awesome stuff
    keep writing dude

  3. Anshul March 26, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    @Vinayak: Glad u liked it Vinayak.. i'm still not able to comprehend how he used 72 pens to write his name..

  4. Anshul March 26, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    Thanks buddy 🙂

  5. Amulya March 26, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    nice post anshul..enjoyed reading it…

  6. Anshul March 26, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    @ Amulya:
    Hey thanks Amulya.. nice to have u here 🙂

  7. aditi March 26, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    That was awesome!!!

  8. Vinayak March 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    hey i had given the wrong link of techie vinayak in my post.Now I have fixed it.
    thnx for commenting

  9. Vanessa Rogers March 28, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Brenda March 29, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    Thats an interesting little tidbit. And why am I just now noticing that he is left handed? Curious.

  11. Anshul March 29, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    @ Aditi, Vanessa:
    Glad that you found it interesting

    Thanks for pointing that out 🙂

  12. Pooja Menon March 29, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Good one! I never knew this. 🙂 Thanks 🙂

  13. jubin March 29, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

    quite interesting man…. but how do they decide on the no of pens to use???

  14. Vinayak March 30, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    Hi Anshul,your blog has been reviewed here http://superstarvinayak.blogspot.com/2010/03/blog-reviewed-knowledge-hub.html
    do visit n comment

  15. Anshul March 30, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    Glad that you liked it 🙂 and thanks for visiting 🙂

    @ Vinayak
    Thanks a lot buddy. You have written such a nice review.. don't hv words to thank you for that..

  16. Anshul March 30, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    @ Jubin
    That's a good question Jubin.. I suppose they decide it depending on the number of people who played an important role. And they also keep a pen or two with White House, so in this case not all the 22 pens were gifted. 20 were gifted and 2 were kept as archive.

    Btw thanks for visiting buddy 🙂 Felt good to see u here.

  17. julie April 15, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    this is strange. I never knew it.. may be his hobby is to collect good branded pens, as I have been doing in my childhood.. or may be he loves colors. so he may be having pen of all colors. 🙂
    but its interesting if he do so..thanks for info

  18. kennenlernen April 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm #

    This is a funny tradition. As with autographs I don't really understand why people want them so badly. Some collect them and the others i guess just want proof of how special they are by having been in touch with an important or famous person.

  19. Anshul April 15, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    @ Julie:
    That might be the reason why Roosevelt started this tradition, Lolz 🙂

    @ kennenlernen:
    Yeah people will do all sort of things to be in limelight.. however the reason of using multiple pens here is slightly different. After all these pens are not given to common people but to distinguished people who played a vital role.

  20. Shrueti99 April 23, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    again thnx for helping to expand my knowledge…
    afterall this is what knowledgehub is all about…
    keep goin!!

  21. Anshul April 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm #

    My pleasure 🙂

  22. Car Loans 4U April 29, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    That is very interesting. I am going to tell people next time I am out.

  23. 2012 doomsday theory May 5, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    way great of Obama to actually have used 22pen for tradition.

  24. sumi jayachandra May 18, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    really good information yaar

  25. diamond heart shaped pendants May 18, 2010 at 11:22 pm #

    Wow 22 pens to sign his name on a paper!! I get the reason for it but thats is crazy!

  26. chi hair straightener May 19, 2010 at 10:28 pm #

    Haha, I would have problems to sign something with 22 pens, having a name with just 12 characters :P.

    Excellent blog with great info.


  27. Copy paste May 25, 2010 at 10:49 pm #

    Waouh, 22 pens! It is a lot, ralala, these passionnate of history…

  28. silver beads June 16, 2010 at 6:54 am #

    yes obama is left handed but i sitll dont see any real reason to use 22 pens, thats just absurd
    thank you for this great post

  29. Juicy Couture July 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    oh this is awesome
    and i am most shocked to see that Lyndon Johnson used 72 pens to sign?

  30. Cortex Cerebri Knowledge August 29, 2010 at 4:19 am #

    Now that was an informative article.
    Good to know about the US presidents and their pens. 😉

  31. Amit September 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    This one piece of information got me hooked to your blog and have bookmarked it for the future. As they say you never know which information can help you get permanent followers, nevertheless after this i am the one . Keep sharing such information!

  32. Anshul September 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    I'm glad that you are following this blog now. Hope to meet your expectations in future as well.

  33. amrita February 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Now this is what we can call love ..This is his love only what else can you say or passion for pens or may be colors …but I am amazed to see this..

  34. Corporate gifts September 15, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Interesting blog as 22 pens used by Obama.Enjoyed reading your post .Quite in different

  35. mahim July 2, 2013 at 2:03 am #

    great work anshul..keep it up..keep posting,,

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