Visit My New Shop on Etsy

Please visit my new vintage shop, Antiques for Today's Lifestyle by LMACKERELL on Etsy. Go to .

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Antique Desks


There are quite a few different types of antique desks available these days.  I find them much more beautiful than the modern desks on the market.  They are also made of solid wood and the quality workmanship stands the test of time.

A Brief History of Desks

The earliest desks were small slant top wooden boxes designed to sit on a table to be used.  Later these boxes came with wooden stands of their own, with the box still being removable.  Then the boxes were attached to the stands and became known as clerk's desks.  As drawers were added below the writing surface, these desks became known as bureaus.  Some of these desks had extra legs that swung out to support a fold out writing surface.

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.
As with other furniture items, many styles of desks were created over the years and different styles are still created today to meet the functional needs of the user.  You can make great use of a vintage desk and have the beautiful wooden furniture piece in your home, often for less than you might pay for a new desk.

This desk passed down in my family was known as an accountant's desk, made in the style of a clerk's desk.

This is an antique school desk with a fold down seat.

This antique desk has a fold down writing surface.

This photograph shows the interior "pigeon holes" for storage.                                                                  

Please comment to share your experiences with antique desks with me and other readers.  Also comment about topics of interest to you for future posts.


No comments:

Post a Comment