Many old writing desks are rather more interesting than they seem at first glance. Hidden drawers and compartments feature in many vintage pieces. These secret compartments were a way of hiding valuable or private items in a time where houses simply weren't as private or safe as they are today.
If you have an antique writing desk in your possession, maybe passed down through the family or purchased from a dealer, why not give it a good look over to see what you can find. Many previous owners will pass items on completely unaware of what lies within - you may even find something valuable or an interesting item of social history hidden away.
There are a few fairly standard areas where hidden drawers might be found:
- Underneath the writing surface - see if it will slide to reveal a space below.
- The pillars either side of the central 'door' in the storage area and the arch above it are often deep drawers - try easing them out gently, in fact any decorative area of the desk can often hide a surprise.
- The area behind drawers - remove the drawer completely and see if you can feel anything in the space, there are often tiny drawers set at right angles to the original drawer - or a further drawer behind the original one. These hidden drawers don't often have proper handles, just a set in screw or an indent to grab them with.
On some pieces, manufacturers even used wooden or metal springs to release the door the a hidden area when the right place was pressed...very inventive!