Academic Writing Web
May 21, 2020
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A Quick Look at a Variety of Desk Styles

Author: Administrator
There are a variety of desk styles available today. Some of them are newer styles, and some of them have been around for a couple of hundred years. These styles include:
  • Early desks
  • Secretary
  • Slant top desk
  • Fall front desk
  • Wooton desk
  • Bargueno desk
  • Rolltop desk
  • Armoire desk
  • Student desk
  • Corner desk
  • Steel desk
  • Computer desk
  • Portable desk
Lets take a look at some of these desk styles and who might want to consider using them. We will start with some of the earlier styles today, and continue with more of them next month.

Early desks - I do not know if desks were used in ancient Rome or Greece, though I suspect that, being educated societies, they had small writing desks. During Medieval times, very few people had a desk because society, in general, was not educated. But members of royalty and the clergy had desks for writing and for copying manuscripts. Some of these may have had a few small drawers, they also had slots, hooks and indentations for writing implements, ink, book marks etc. Writing desks would have been smaller, but some of the desks used by the clergy were quite large because many of the manuscripts being copies were large.

Secretary - We owned an antique store for awhile and a few of these crossed my path. The standard style would be about seven feet tall, it would have drawers on the bottom, and a narrower hutch on top. In between is the desk area. It has a hinged desktop surface that forms about a 45 degree angle when closed. The surface would fold down to form the the desk top and to reveal small cubbies, slots and shelves for organizing your papers and writing supplies. The top hutch could have either wood doors that would open to reveal more slots and shelves, or glass doors with display shelves. There are many variations of this style which are still referred to as a "Secretary".

Slant top desk - this is also sometime called a bureau desk, and is essentially a secretary without the top hutch. This made the desk lighter and easier to manage and move. And though smaller than the secretary, it is generally thought to be its predecessor.

Fall Front Desk - this style desk is closely related to the secretary, the main difference being that the part of the desk that folds up, is in a totally vertical position when closed. The desktop folds down for use and reveals any assortment of pigeonholes, small drawers, shelves or doors for organizing all your writing needs. Another difference is that there is usually no cabinet or additional shelves above the area enclosed by the desktop.

Wooton Desk - this is a combination of a cabinet, a secretary and a fall front desk. These were first seen in the 1870's, patented by William Wooton of Indiana, and were often refereed to as a Cabinet Office Secretary. They became a bit of a status symbol and were quite elaborate. These were shorter than a secretary, and opened up like a cupboard that was curved at the top. When opened, a drop down desk was revealed with an elaborate selection of cubbies, drawers, shelves and slots, both in the doors themselves and in the cabinet.


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