November 21, 2013

Autumn in the Studio

View of the Glitch in Time Studio-- androidography

I finally get around to cleaning and organizing the roll-top desk

Back during the summer when I was doing my last-minute participation in the Where Bloggers Create 2013 blog party hosted by  Karen Valentine at My Desert Cottage I promised to do a tour of the antique oak roll-top desk which graces the office end of my studio. At the time, I presented a photo of it with the roll-top closed to conceal the extreme case of untidiness beneath.

Roll-top desk-- oak with c-style roll
Cleaning and organizing it has been on my list of To-Dos ever since, but instead of getting better, the clutter situation just kept growing worse. I bought some more clear plastic cases with a view to sorting the heaping basket of beads, possible bead projects, unused beadclass kits, and begun but never completed projects residing in the middle of the desk. I still did not get to it though, and the mess only grew.
Clutter on Oak roll-top desk

Since I usually kept it closed anyway, it was easy to just keep letting the heap of papers, boxes, beads and other strange objects hidden beneath, grow. Aside from the mess, I also most often keep it closed to prevent the cats from making it into another place to sleep. I spend a great deal of time cleaning up cat hair as it is, and do not relish it amongst the nooks and crannies of my desk. One of our cats, Qetesh, also happens to be an inveterate magpie. She likes shinys, tubes of beads or pieces of jewelry, in fact any kind of bauble, especially if it will roll when pushed off of something.

Qetesh-- Bead cat

Though to outward appearance, she is fat, lazy, amiable and innocent, experience has long since taught me not to leave things where she can get to them easily. When we moved this past year, I found a treasure trove of seed bead tubes, larger beads and metal findings hidden away beneath furniture and in out of the way corners of the basement where my former workspace was.

Since it had been a good while between thorough dustings, and now that summer is over and the yard is not being quite so demanding, I no longer had that excuse for my neglect. The time had come. I started sorting through the contents of my desk top. The basket of beads have been organized into raw materials or set aside if they were indeed part of projects I want to finish. Bead bags and containers are put away. The earring cards I had printed but not cut apart are finished and ready for use; however, the pendants I started before breaking my wrist last spring are still waiting to be soldered. Other bits and pieces found places, either in the desk or in other appropriate places around the studio. At some point, I had emptied most of the top of the desk, so I pulled everything remaining out in order to oil and polish the wood.

Empty desk-- drawers, nooks and cubbies
Picture of the back of desk with it's interesting cubbies and drawers.
I have, in the past couple of months, done a bit of research into the desk's possible origins. I cannot be absolutely certain, but it is nearly identical to photos I found of roll-top desks manufactured by the Derby and Kilmer  Co.
The Derby Desk Company was established in Boston in 1870 but moved to Somerville, Massachusetts in the 1880s. By the time this print was made, about 1912, the company was described by the Somerville Board of Trade as "the largest manufacturing industry in the world devoted exclusively to the manufacture of office furniture. Occupying ten acres of floor space, it has made and sold over two million desks, and designed special and artistic furniture for the principal banks, libraries, public institutions, and corporations throughout the United States."

Though the resemblance it bears to their products is undeniable, I can find no definite mark of manufacture. The key-plate on the front of the roll-top should identify it, but it does not appear to be the original and is blank.

Key plate on front of roll-top desk.
The locking mechanism on the bottom is missing altogether. If there were ever keys, I do not have them. My father purchased this desk at least twenty years ago and paid about $700.00. As far as I can determine, its present worth could fall anywhere between one and two thousand dollars. It is not in pristine condition, but very good, and it is constucted from solid oak rather than the more common veneered wood. The joins are dovetailed throughout. All of the original drawers, handles, and dividers are present and in good shape.

Key plate on front of roll-top desk.
Photos and catalogs put the age of this desk at about 100 years. An expert would have to be consulted for a more detailed analysis. However, I just love my desk. The warm glow of the wood— the solidity and the history of this piece of furniture—is reason enough to love it. There is so much character in this desk's style and shape, that I feel privileged just getting to use it.

Roll-top desk-- top shelf

Roll-top desk drawers

This desk is very deep. The drawers seem to go back almost forever. The file drawer has wooden dividers. There is an almost hidden compartment behind it. The shallow drawers all have adjustable dividers as well, and the center drawer is large and roomy.

Cubby drawers

I wanted to show a more detailed photo of the drawers from the top cubby. They are very much like scoops. I think they were probably sized for index card type files, but I am not sure. I finally made labels for them. It is my intent to eventually label and organize everything in my studio.

Roll-top desk-- cleaned and organized

Though I am not sure how long this pristine state will last, here is a photo of my lovely and beloved desk, cleaned and organized. It will be nice to have a clear work surface for the time being.  Now, I can start to think about doing something with the pile of unsorted lace, fabric and thrifted Christmas items at the other end of the room.

I will close this post with a picture of the old-fashioned bell that sits on top of my desk. It is not an antique, though all of the other items that show up in this photo are. I actually found it at World Market, and though I seldom buy anything like that new, I had to have it for the desk. Like clerks everywhere, I may or may not respond to its ring.

Have a great day and better week. Until next time...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I enjoy hearing from you...

Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...