- Pedestal desk
A pedestal desk is usually a large free-standing
deskmade of a simple rectangular working surface resting on two pedestals or small cabinets of stacked drawers of one or two sizes, with plinths around the bases. Often, there is also a central large drawer above the legs and knees of the user. Sometimes, especially in the 19th century and modern examples, a "modesty panel" is placed in front, between the pedestals, to hide the legs and knees of the user from anyone else sitting or standing in front. This variation is sometimes called a "panel desk". The smaller and older pedestal desks with such a panel are sometimes called kneehole desks, and were usually placed against a wall.
From the mid-18th century onwards, the pedestal desk has often had a top that is inlaid with a large panel of
leather(sometimes with a gold- or blind-stamped border) or baizefor a writingsurface, within a cross-banded border. If the desk has a wooden top surface, it may have a pull-out lined writing drawer, or the pull-out may be fitted with a folding horse to serve as a bookrest.
Very few non-specialists call this form a pedestal desk. Most people usually refer to it as an executive desk, in contrast with the
cubicle deskwhich is assigned to those who work under the executive. However, the term executive desk has been applied to so many desk forms as to be misleading, so the less-used but more precise "pedestal desk" has been retained here.
The pedestal desk appeared, especially in
England, in the 18th century but became popular in the 19th and the 20th, overtaking the variants of the secretary deskand the writing tablein sheer numbers. The French stayed faithful to the writing table or "bureau plat" ("flat desk"), which might have a matching paper-case ("cartonnier") that stood upon it.
There were at least two precursors to the pedestal desk: The French
Bureau Mazarin(a desk named for Cardinal Mazarin) of the late 17th century and the Chinese Jumu deskor scholar's desk, which Europeans knew almost entirely at second-hand, largely from illustrations on porcelain. Unlike the pedestal desk however these precursors had an incomplete stack of drawers and compartments holding up the two ends. The cases of drawers were raised about 6 to 12 inches from the floor on legs.
When a pedestal desk is doubled in size to form a nearly square working surface, and drawers are put on both sides to accommodate two users at the same time, it becomes a
partners desk. Thomas Chippendalegives designs for such tables, which were generally used in libraries, as writing tables in "The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director" (1753–4 and 1762).
When the pedestal desk form is cut to about two thirds of its normal width, and one of the pedestals is replaced by legs, this is then called a right pedestal desk or a left pedestal desk, depending on the position of the pedestal. This kind of form is common for a
The pedestal desk is also one of the two principal forms of the big
campaign desk, used by the militaryin days gone by. It can then be considered a portable deskin a limited way since the writing surface could be easily separated from the pedestals, to facilitate transport. The three separate elements were often fitted with large handles on the sides.
List of desk forms and types
*Aronson, Joseph. The Encyclopedia of Furniture. 3rd ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 1966.
*Charron, Andy. Desks: Outstanding Projects from America's Best Craftsmen. Taunton press, 2000. pp. 124-144.
*Gloag, John. A Complete Dictionary of Furniture. Woodstock, N.Y. : Overlook Press, 1991.
*Moser,Thomas. Measured Shop Drawings for American Furniture. New York: Sterling Publishing Inc., 1985.
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pedestal desk — noun a usually kneehole desk with the top supported by one or two pedestals containing cupboards or drawers * * * pedestal desk noun A desk for which sets of drawers act as the side supports for the writing surface • • • Main Entry: ↑pedestal … Useful english dictionary
Desk — A writing desk. A desk is a furniture form and a class of table often used in a work or office setting for reading or writing on or using a computer. Desks often have one or more drawers to store office supplies and papers. Unlike a regular table … Wikipedia
Desk of Books — The desk of books is a full size sculpture of a pedestal desk by the Venetian artist Livio De Marchi. Like the bureau du Roi it was created as a work of art and is valued as such. But like that most famous of French desks it also has everything… … Wikipedia
pedestal — ► NOUN 1) the base or support on which a statue, obelisk, or column is mounted. 2) each of the two supports of a kneehole desk or table. 3) the supporting column of a washbasin or toilet pan. ORIGIN Italian piedestallo, from piè foot + di of +… … English terms dictionary
pedestal — /ped euh stl/, n., v., pedestaled, pedestaling or (esp. Brit.) pedestalled, pedestalling. n. 1. an architectural support for a column, statue, vase, or the like. See diag. under column. 2. a supporting structure or piece; base. 3. Furniture. a. a … Universalium
pedestal — /ˈpɛdəstl / (say peduhstl) noun 1. an architectural support for a column, statue, vase, or the like. 2. a supporting structure or piece; a base. 3. one of two supports of a knee hole desk, consisting of a box like frame containing drawers. 4. a… … Australian English dictionary
pedestal — n. & v. n. 1 a base supporting a column or pillar. 2 the stone etc. base of a statue etc. 3 either of the two supports of a knee hole desk or table, usu. containing drawers. v.tr. (pedestalled, pedestalling; US pedestaled, pedestaling) set or… … Useful english dictionary
desk — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. escritoire, secretary, lectern, counter; bureau. See receptacle. II (Roget s IV) n. 1. [A piece of furniture] Syn. secretary, worktable, writing desk, writing table, drafting table, escritoire, bureau … English dictionary for students
pedestal — noun 1》 the base or support on which a statue, obelisk, or column is mounted. ↘a position in which someone is greatly or uncritically admired: you shouldn t put him on a pedestal. 2》 each of the two supports of a kneehole desk or table. 3》… … English new terms dictionary
Credenza desk — A credenza desk A credenza desk (often simply, credenza) is a modern desk form usually placed next to a wall as a secondary work surface to that of another desk, such as a pedestal desk, in a typical executive office. When used as an active work… … Wikipedia