In the late 17th century, bureau cylinders and roll-top bureaus came from France. The cylinder desk has a rounded lid that rotates into the desk. The roll-top, still in production today, has wooden slats glued to cloth strips that allow it to roll into the desk. Around 1650, the secretary style desk was developed where the lid folded down to create the writing surface and folded closed when not in use. The knee-hole desk or writing table was developed about 1700. Over the years, different woods were used to make desks, including oak, walnut and mahogany. The size of desks also increased dramatically over time. Another invention was the architect's desk, with a mechanism to adjust the angle of the slanted writing surface. This type of desk or table is also still in use today. In the late 18th century, "pigeon holes" were added inside desks for storage. In the 1770's rosewood and satinwood were introduced for desks by fine funiture makers, with elaborate inlays replacing carved embellishments in earlier pieces. Hepplewhite and Shearer introduced partner's desks, which allowed two people to work facing each other.
This desk passed down in my family was known as an accountant's desk, made in the style of a clerk's desk.