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Posted by / 09-Dec-2017 07:51

Dating antique secretary

A secretary desk or escritoire is made of a base of wide drawers topped by a desk with a hinged desktop surface, which is in turn topped by a bookcase usually closed with a pair of doors, often made of glass.

The whole is usually a single, tall and heavy piece of furniture.

You may want to seek advice from an expert carpenter or cabinet-maker to identify the wood, especially if it has been stained or varnished to modify the color.

Note whether the top and bottom sections of your desk are held together by screws or wooden pegs.

Until recently there was a good example of a side-by-side secretary in the second floor office of the historic home of John Muir in Martinez, California.

Mahogany, teak and cherry also appear in old desks, but from 1900 on, most desks were oak.

A desk made from cherry after 1900, for example, would have been a special order or the work of a local craftsman.

Take a thorough set of measurements for your desk, including height, depth and width of both the bottom desk and the tambour, or roll-top.

Especially if your desk, like many sold in the "Sears, Roebuck & Co." or "Montgomery Ward" catalogs from the 1880s to the end of the 1920s, was factory-built, you may recognize it by its measurements as much as by its design.

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In such a case, the secretary is also known as a mechanical desk like many other desk forms which have some sort of mechanism pushing out elements of the desk and then pulling them back in automatically.