WASHINGTON – Richard Nixon (search) is immortalized in wax, his image molded into a candle in that oh-so-'70s shade of avocado green. Abraham Lincoln (search) is depicted in brass, on a fittingly weighty paper clip in keeping with the solemnity of his times. George W. Bush (search), so consistently underestimated, pops up from a jack-in-the-box.
Just in time for Election Day, presidential historian Carl Sferrazza Anthony (search) has turned his personal collection of presidential schlock into "Heads of State," a book depicting a few of the ways American presidents have been transformed into "everyday useful household items" in pewter, plastic, porcelain, copper, cork, chalk, walnut and more.
There is the George Washington thimble, the Ulysses S. Grant (search) pill box, the William H. Taft (search) Christmas tree ornament, the Harry Truman (search) bottle stopper, the John F. Kennedy (search) salt and pepper set and the Bill Clinton corkscrew, to name a few.
For each, Anthony stretches to find some deep meaning that echoes the president's tenure in office.
What better item than a silver candle snuffer to carry the countenance of John Quincy Adams (search)? "His grim demeanor could put out any flame," writes Anthony.
As for the choice of a candle for Nixon, Anthony writes that the 37th president vigorously pursued foreign policy accomplishments even as his presidency unraveled over Watergate. "It is no stretch of the imagination to say that Nixon burned the candle at both ends," he writes.
And the current president? "Just when least expected, 'W' pops up with an element of shock and awe, making his depiction as a jack-in-the-box not really surprising at all," says Anthony.
The 95-page book, offering one item for each president, is being published Oct. 19 by Bloomsbury.