ca 1850 Judge’s Gavel
A gavel is a small ceremonial mallet commonly made of hardwood, typically fashioned with a handle and often struck against a sound block to enhance its sounding qualities. It is a symbol of the authority and right to act officially in the capacity of a chair or presiding officer. It is used to call for attention or to punctuate rulings and proclamations. It is customarily struck to indicate the opening (call to order), keep the meeting itself calm and orderly, and the closing (adjournment) of proceedings, giving rise to the phrase gavel-to-gavel to describe the entirety of a meeting or session.
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