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Question for Antique Enthusiasts (not about a sewing machine!)

Question for Antique Enthusiasts (not about a sewing machine!)

Old 04-21-2019, 06:27 AM
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Default Question for Antique Enthusiasts (not about a sewing machine!)

I know you folks are the best ones to ask even though this is not machine-related. Does anyone know what the actual purpose is for the piece of furniture pictured? My late aunt gave this to me; she called it a desk. It does have a roll top however I think it would be impossible to use as a desk because there is nowhere to sit. The bottom part (please pardon the mess, I'm currently using for storage) has a glass shelf and a light, so it could be used to display collectibles I guess. It's extremely heavy and solid.

I'm not looking to sell it or anything, just extremely curious about what it would have been used for. The only thing I can come up with in my head is maybe a telephone table, and you would have stored phone books in the roll top part?

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Old 04-21-2019, 06:38 AM
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Is it possible that two pieces of furniture we're combined to make that piece?
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Old 04-21-2019, 07:25 AM
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If there isn't any pull out table or extension part functioning as a writing space it was probably never meant to be used as a desk. The curved sliding cover (aka roll top?) could hide anything, the glass doors lean towards a more decorative display of somthing. I have seen roll top phone stands, the most common phone desks used to be a low table with a seat on the side. It looks like it's designed for some kind of specific purpose with the open space and curved side on the top right.
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Old 04-21-2019, 01:09 PM
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Hi bearisgray! I honestly don't think so, although that did occur to me. It's such a solid piece and the wood is so well matched.

Mickey2, that's the type of phone stand I have seen also, the ones with the seat.

Still a mystery!!
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Old 04-21-2019, 01:28 PM
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I know a bit about antiques but I've never come across anything like that!
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Old 04-21-2019, 01:49 PM
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​I don’t know it’s original purpose but the bottom with the glass doors would be perfect for folded quilt display.
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Old 04-21-2019, 02:12 PM
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I think what you might have is a "marriage", that is the term used to describe the joining of two pieces that didn't initially go together. The middle section as you point out is for display. The base is very large but if you think of the need to lift the display section up, it makes sense. The base also prevents you from bringing a chair or even standing close to the unit. All of the unit is open for display except for the roll top section - perhaps 20% - why? Some companies did "end-of-day" items, whether it was molten glass or the last items on the table when constructing paper Valentines (Victorian ones) or Christmas decorations. Perhaps this factory was closing down and they decided to use what was there or perhaps it was a dare. Both my husband and I have been into antiques all our lives. He had two businesses back East and we had one together for 12 years. We have never seen one like yours. It is definitely different. I always liked having something different. Enjoy using it. Will the mystery ever be solved?

Last edited by Kelsie; 04-21-2019 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 04-21-2019, 02:36 PM
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So called marriage usually comes from antique dealers, rather dubious ones. If your aunt bought it new you don't have to doubt, but I guess anything is possible when we buy second hand. I have come to hate alterations, it seems like a good idea at the time and it can work for a while, but I have had a set of chairs gone bad because my mother decided they would look "ligher and more elegant" if she sawed of the cross section securing the legs. They don't look bad now, but they needed further work later on to secure some joints and there's only two left (more pressure on joints and they broke). Another time my great aunt decided to saw off a section of the legs on a victorian or edwardian table. The lower parts of the legs are solid but swirly bits, they were taken off shortened and put back on. The table worked fine for it's intended alteration, but now it's just a bit short for the chairs that go with it. Have you ever tried to remove paint from nice wood or veneer? Arghhhh....

You should be able to notice slight differences in wood and wrokmanship in "marriage pieces", but it needs a keen eye and closer investigation.
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Old 04-21-2019, 03:02 PM
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I think Mickey2 may be on to something. It almost looks like there is a slide-out. It looks like that piece of wood that is in the green rectangle is kind of rounded in front and doesn't go all the way to the edge. I wonder if there is a place where the green arrow is pointing where one could pull that piece out and then slide a chair under??

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Old 04-21-2019, 03:28 PM
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Could it possibly be a Depression era kitchen hutch? The bottom part would hold dishes or pots and pans and the roll top surface could be closed while proofing dough for the rising process. The wood looks like pine and the color is slightly darker than the more blond look but should be well in the typical range. The carving looks like a low cost decoration as people did not have much money to spend.
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