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Desks From the 1940s


    • In the 1940s, roll-top desks were often carryovers from the 19th century and early 20th century, when they were mainly used in bedrooms and studies for letter-writing. Roll-tops were mainly inherited and kept to good use during the 1940s. The distinguishing characteristic of a roll-top desk is the slatted covering of the desktop which rolls up or down from a higher shelf of the desk to hide or reveal the desktop itself. Because of this construction, space between the desktop and higher shelf was utilized with built-in additions of cubby holes and drawers.


    • A banker's desk during the 1940s was found more in businesses than in the home. It utilized drawers more than the traditional domestic roll-top to hide paperwork, and the desktop itself was longer to accommodate the shuffling of paper. The banker's desktop was open, with the middle space underneath for a chair, flanked by drawers for business records, which were usually built with locks to keep such papers private.


    • With the end of World War II, domestic manufacturers turned their attention from defense back to the home front, and metal became a popular desk material. The style was of the more up-to-date banker desk with space in the middle for a chair and drawers on either side. Today, these metal desks are often seen in low-frills businesses such as auto mechanics, but they are also starting to enjoy a retro comeback.


    • Desks of the 1940s are in demand today by retro enthusiasts. The modern interpretation of a roll-top, banker or metal desk varies. While roll-top desks are again sitting in bedrooms, their function may be as more of a vanity. A traditional 1940s banker's desk can be used in retro decor under a large flat screen to hide DVDs and other audio visuals, where the drawers once hid paperwork. And the metal desk, recently relegated to the garage or home workshop, is also finding new life with high-gloss paint in kitchens for extra storage, as well.

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