Now here’s a naval artifact you actually can drink tea and eat crumpets on—not that we would recommend that. This lace-trimmed, sateen table cover (a “table round,” to be specific) commemorates the USS Utah (BB-31/AG-16) with the battleship’s image enhanced by a sailor-aloft motif and a red, white, and blue stars-and-stripes border rimming the edge. Measuring 20 inches in diameter, it would have been the perfect sentimental adornment for the family household of a former Utah sailor or a proud Utah citizen celebrating his or her state’s namesake ship. Or, as Naval Institute member Edward Poole (from whose collection this unique relic hails) writes, “This is just the sort of present that might very likely have been gifted by a sailor to his mother circa 1918.” Dr. Poole explains, “My dating of this table round as circa 1918 relates chiefly to the graphics style, the materials, and the ship and seaman portrayed. At any rate, the picture dates sometime between her commissioning in 1911 and her modernization in 1925.” (The accompanying photo shows the Utah during World War I, with camouflage patterns painted on her hull and triangular baffles attached to her masts.)
The Utah, of course, met her fate on 7 December 1941 at a place called Pearl Harbor—where her torpedo-scarred, partially submerged hull still remains rusting away to this day, the gravesite of an unknown number of men who were trapped inside. But her ship’s bell—that’s another story . . . one that can be found on page 13 of this issue.
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