A Night At The Railway, And The Desk Question Is Solved.

Looking into the woodshop takes you back to a simple time.

Okay I am mashing two stories into one today, kinda like adding some milk to the story to add a little something. Maybe a cereal of sorts. A sequence of a story that needs some more, but not small enough to be part of a sausage story? And if you are able to follow this logic, you have been reading Woody Boater WAAAAAYYYYY to long! So? Pics and Captions.

The soft fabric will be coming down. Its a left over from the party. I am sure its holding some dust now. Which isnt a bad thing.

The fire pit works magic

The sunsets have been insane this past week

The Skipjack adds that special magic to the railway.

Back to the desk

Okay now the table. Thanks to Jim Grant for the quick answer yesterday. And that unleashed a better google search. It is a Ledger Desk. They were used in the 1800’s until around 1910. And the shelf on top is a book shelf. Or Ledger shelf. SOLVED. And of course there is a website on everything. Including an old office furniture museum. I LOVE the internet …sometimes…

Standing desk, ledger, accounting and so on – Courtesy of OfficeMuseum.com

From OfficeMuesum.com because, well, just because there is a museum for everything. BTW, LOVE the site. Worth a click for sure

And one might ask? And the Office Museum did and has an answer..

Why did book-keepers stand while they worked?

“It is conceded by all that a book-keeper’s desk should be of sufficient hight [spelling in the original] to require him to stand while at his work, for the posting and checking from one large book to another necessitates constant moving, and it would be very inconvenient for the accountant to seat himself and then rise again whenever it become necessary to refer to an entry in another book. The books of an establishment of sufficient size to employ the services of a book-keeper are usually very cumbersome, and should lie upon the counter or desk in an accustomed place, while the book-keeper passes to and fro from book to book, as occasion requires. Many firms will not employ a book-keeper who would attempt to do his work by sitting down. The book-keeper’s desk should slant on top, and be provided with a rack [above the slanted surface], for convenience in laying aside indexes, tablets, etc., where they may be easily reached when needed from time to time. Under the desk may be arranged shelves and places for books, or if these are deposited in the safe or vault each night, this would not be necessary.” (G. L. Howe and O. M. Powers, The Secrets of Success in Business, 1883, p. 313)

The shift toward use of loose-leaf ledgers and book-keeping machine that began in the late 1890s presumably reduced the use of standing desks. However, we have seen advertisements for standing desks as late as 1917.

And there ya go.

12 replies
  1. Frank@Falmouth
    Frank@Falmouth says:

    I was looking forward to seeing photos of “the cool old building in Reedville” where the desk and turd were discovered … ornate trim and bare lath for plaster walls ? Hopefully someone will restore.. I always enjoy how you can make a silk purse out of a pigs ear.. 🙂

  2. MO Whaler
    MO Whaler says:

    Yes – – Appreciate the functional designs, the quarter sawn oak, the drawers and cubbies found in Used Furniture – – Good picking – –

  3. jim g
    jim g says:

    There in old movies based around the late 1800’s to 1930’s. Thats where I’ve seen them.

    Scrooge, Its a wonderful life, etc.

  4. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Cool that the mystery is solved! I like the B&W photo thru the woodshop window, but find the cloth on the ceiling distracting in that picture. Re-shooting that, once the cloth is removed, will make a more convincing “throwback”.

  5. Karl Hoffman
    Karl Hoffman says:

    I have an old photo of my Great Grandfather standing at a desk in Tacoma Washington from the early 1900’s his occupation was a book keeper

  6. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Ah, the internet, if there were only some web sites about boats, antique wooden boats, and their ilk.

  7. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Interesting though Floyd…How many desks would it take to get enough old wood to build a boat? The Internet may have an answer…

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      M Fine, I would think it would be more likely to be the other way around, more wood boats being recycled to make furniture?

  8. Steve Anderson from Michigan
    Steve Anderson from Michigan says:

    Very cool, and interesting.

    Did we ever figure out the use of the spinning part in the middle?

Comments are closed.