Office furniture from a century ago isn’t designed for today’s modern technology. You won’t find it riddled with data ports and tricked out with articulated monitor arms. But there are a few features from days gone by that would still be kind of cool to have in today’s mass produced office furniture items.
Roll Top and Drop Top Desks
It’s nice to be able to lock the individual drawers on a modern desk. But it’s even nicer to have a lockable screen roll or down or fold up over the entire desk top. You could leave your good pens and your favorite stapler out on the desk without being afraid they would disappear. The computer monitor and that stack of work you left undone wouldn’t be able to stare accusingly at you either. Sure, finding a roll top desk that would actually accommodate a computer monitor would be tricky. But a laptop would fit in there easily!
Slant Top Filing Cabinets
The Klamath County Museum has just added an ancient wooden filing cabinet to its historical furniture collection. Besides being a lovely piece of equipment, this 4 foot high pedestal style cabinet also has a useful feature – a gently slanted top. This surface provides a place to open a ledger book or sort through a file folder at a comfortable viewing angle. Another feature of this cabinet that is surprisingly modern is its modular nature. It’s actually composed of five components that fit and lock together to create the full piece.
Solid Construction and Natural Materials
We think most designers would agree “wood and leather go together”. Both these materials have a unique grain that ensures no two pieces of office furniture are exactly alike. Back at the turn of the last century, a good office chair was made of solid oak with leather upholstery. While many of the parts were machined, the finishing was often a matter of custom craftsmanship. It’s no wonder you can still find a chair made 100 years ago that’s still in working condition today. Of course, the tradeoff is that these wooden chairs usually weren’t that comfortable. Perhaps we need to blend space age materials with these old fashioned good looks to create the perfect office chair today.