Relevant categories: Desks
( Above Photo: Antique Roll Top Desk Mahogany Bureau 1880 )
A cylinder desk is a type of furniture with a curved top that rolls in an out of the place where there’s a need. It has many other names, including the cylinder-top desk, roll-top desk, davenport, secretaire, escritoire, writing table, or secretary.
But the name it gets depends on the kind of cylinder featured. For example, the one with a roll-down top has the title: roll-top desk.
( Above Photo: French Roll Top Desk Marquetry Inlay Empire Bureau )
The cylinder desk was created in France by Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz, the Habsburg Empire’s ambassador to the French court. That’s why it’s sometimes called the bureau Kaunitz. The French court enthusiastically adopted the desk, making it popular across France.
It was first introduced in England in the late 1700s, becoming a standard office desk for the next 100 years to the end of the 19th century.
Due to its increasing popularity, the desk was produced in mass, featuring in many offices and homes across England.
However, after the advent of the Bauhaus-inspired modern furniture, the cylinder desk experienced a decline in popularity. It was no longer a favorite for office workers.
In the 1960s, it reappeared briefly as part of the ‘action office’ by George Nelson. It became a ‘country antique’ in the 1980s and is still popular with collectors.
( Above Photo: French Roll Top Desk - Empire Bureau Marquetry Inlay )
It is easy to think that the cylinder desk is round-shaped or circular, but it is far from it. Instead of a circular structure, the cylinder desk is rectangular-shaped with four legs. It has a round or cylinder portion at the top.
The cylinder desk features small stacked shelves next to the main work surface. It also has a revolving cylinder that locks in the working papers and stationery when pulled down.
Whenever one wants to use the desk, they pull the cylinder part back up to reveal the work surface and the small shelves. You can extend the work surface on some desks by pulling them out.
Inside the cylindrical roll-top, the desk has several small drawers and boxes for holding essential items. On some desks, you’ll find locks for the roll-top. However, the locking system is more straightforward than modern desks with locking drawers.
The cylinder desk is mainly made of wood, with a few models featuring metal and other materials. Traditionally, it had a solid wood construction. The roll-top featured stated wood.
( Above Photo: Louis XVI Desk - French Bureau Du Roi Roll Top )
There are many reasons to buy a cylinder desk, including its unique visual appeal. You can place it in any room in your house and use it as a focal point.
Besides, it can be a valuable option for the home office, and you can use it for most of your work, including writing, completing documents, or surfing the internet.
The drawer and nooks on the desk can offer storage for most of your items, including pens, books, paper, and other stationery.
The Bottom Line
Buying a cylinder desk is one of the best decisions ever. These antique desks have inherent and sentimental value. They are also highly functional. Don’t hesitate to talk to us if you want a cylinder desk.
Louis XVI Desk - French Bureau...
French Roll Top Desk - Empire ...
French Roll Top Desk Marquetry...
Antique Roll Top Desk Mahogany...
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