Secretaires are one of the most common types of desks for use in a study. Desks designed for studies were typically build to contain large amounts of papers, books, notes, and utensils. For that reason, they feature large numbers of drawers. However, they were also supposed to be used for writing, so many of them feature pull out surfaces or sloped writing surfaces.
What Are Secretaires?
Secretaires are, by definition, enclosed writing desks. They typically have drop-down writing surfaces, enclosed drawers, and sometimes feature bookshelves. The word itself is French for secretary. The main surface of the desk is hinged so that it is flat when open an angled with raised. When raised, it encloses shelves, drawers, and nooks for the user. Many people think of them as slant top desks with enclosed bookcases.
In the past, secretaires could also be built about half as large as normal. These desks were just as tall as the usual models but they were about half as wide, to accommodate narrow rooms and crowded spaces. When halved in this way, they are called “side by side” secretaries.
The secretary, or secretaire, is one of the most common forms of antique pine furniture. It was produced constantly for centuries in many different European countries. Because of its ease of use and compact nature, it remained popular for a very long time. They were also reproduced in many different fashions by manufacturers.
Some manufacturers in the past built secretaries with glazed glass panels. When they have glass panels instead of opaque wood, they are sometimes called escritoires. While these are not quite as common as the standard secretary, they are still quite available.
Due to their status as common office and home furniture, secretaries are built primarily out of pine wood. If you are hunting for a secretary, you should be careful to make sure the wood has been properly maintained.