Relevant categories: Desks
( Above Photo: Queen Anne Desk Writing Table )
Isn’t a writing table just another desk? When does a desk become a writing table? These questions can be challenging, especially if you’re not adequately acquainted with these distinct furniture types.
This article describes these two furniture types in greater detail to help you draw a line between a desk and a writing table.
A desk is a portable furniture piece featuring drawers and can have enough space to hold books and writing materials. It originated in the late 18th century and has evolved, adopting different forms, shapes, and sizes.
Some cabinets, which had started as a bureau, gradually receded in size until it became the desk. While some desks were minimalist, others had extra drawers under the writing surface to provide additional storage space.
( Above Photo: Victorian Desk Antique Writing Table Rosewood 1880 )
A writing table is a special desk directly under the writing surface. The drawers serve the purpose of storing writing materials and stationery. Some writing tables have special spots for the blotter, inkwell, and powder tray in one drawer. In some cases, the writing table has a leather writing surface.
Here is a detailed description of the writing table to help you aptly identify it:
Height: Since it was for writing or studying, the writing table rises to 28 to 30 inches above the floor. At that height, it can perfectly serve its purpose.
Shape and Size: Writing desks can be rectangular or oval, depending on the designer. Also, their sizes vary by a great deal.
Knee Height:The writing table comes with a shorter knee height due to the inclusion of extra drawers below the writing surface. With the additional drawers, they may have a more substantial feel. However, the small knee height makes crossing legs a little complicated.
Two-Sided: A writing table can be two-sided, especially if it was designed for library use. Thus, two people can use the same desk facing each other. The surface may also have a narrow shelf or crossbar to separate two people when using the same desk.
( Above Photo: Victorian Writing Table Desk 1880 Mahogany )
From the details above, it is clear that the distinction between a desk and a writing table is very minimal. A writing table is a special-purpose desk meant for writing.
So, a desk becomes a writing table when it has the elements for writing, including a blotter, inkwell, and powder tray in one drawer. The presence of a leather surface specifically for writing purposes also makes a desk a writing table.
Given that writing tables are two-sided, making a desk to accommodate two people can also turn it into a writing table. Even so, if the sole purpose is for writing and studying, then it can become a writing table.
( Above Photo: Mahogany Sheraton Desk - Revival Writing Table 1890 )
There’s a thin line between the desk and the writing-table, with both having similar characteristics. However, it becomes a writing table once a desk gets designated for writing.
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