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A desk is a desk, right? Well, not really. Many different types of desks have developed over the centuries, and many of them don't resemble modern home and office desks much at all. A number of these styles have been revived over and over, and still inspire reproductions in their likeness. Some also overlap in their descriptors. These include slant-fronts like the escritoire and fall-fronts like the butler's desk, among a number of others.
However, the davenport became popular on dry land and in homes throughout England and the United States during the 19th century. Originally a simple chest of drawers with a swivel top, it grew increasingly ornate, with pilasters or cabriole legs in front. It traditionally rests on bun feet, often with castors.
A type of case furniture, usually a low desk, that has a slant top. When open, this sloping lid forms a surface for writing or reading (the name derives from the French word "écrire", meaning "to write."
Developed in the early 18th century, the escritoire grew out of - and the term can still apply to - a writing box or small cabinet with a drop-front and drawers or shelves that dates from the Middle Ages, probably from Spain.
This popular type of desk, also known as a drop-front, originated in Spain in the 16th century as the vargueño. Since then it's been incorporated into many different desk styles, including the Butler's desk (see link above).
This type of flat-topped desk was first made in England in the early 1700s. It features a flat top supported by two banks of drawers or cabinets separated by a space for the legs of the person using the desk. Since it was introduced, it has been manufactured in many different styles, and it is still popular with companies producing Colonial reproductions.
This antique desk style popular from the late 1800s through the early 1900s, is said to have originated in England. These types of two-sided desks were often used by bankers who wished to work together for convenience, and they are the same on each side allowing individuals to face one another. Since they are essentially office furniture, they are usually heavy and well-made from quality woods such as mahogany or oak. Some examples have leather tops as well.
Slant-Front desks have evolved over time, with the first examples having hinges at the top. Many different types and styles have been made with slanted tops since then, including a number of those shown with this feature. Click on the link above to learn more about this type of desk.
This coveted Victorian desk style was the executive's choice when it was first introduced. In fact, it was deemed "The King of Desks."
Today collectors relish finding these marvelous pieces as curiosities and conversation starters even more than for their usefulness. Click on the link above to learn all about the Wooton Desk
This article is quoted from Troy Segal, Know Your Antique Desk Styles