We can't call it the longest House speaker contest in 100 years anymore. Now that we're through nine ballots, tying the 1923 process, it's the longest contest in 164 years, since the Congress during which states began seceding from the Union to kick off the Civil War.
It will take a long time to break any more records. The 1859 speaker contest went to 44 ballots before Rep. William Pennington, a Republican from New Jersey, won the post. An anomaly, Pennington only served in one Congress, the one where he was speaker, and lost a bid for reelection. He's one of just three speakers to be thrown out of office by voters.
The US House of 1859 was a very different place. Pennington's Republicans had the most members, with 116. But they did not have a majority of the 238 total members. There were also 83 Democrats, 19 Opposition Party members, eight Anti-Lecompton Democrats, seven Independent Democrats and five members of the American Party.
In the following Congress, which started in 1861, after Southern states seceded, House membership went down from 238 to 183 and Republicans had a very strong majority.
Here's how this House speaker vote compares to those of the past: