When Were Desks Invented?

by Dylan Bowen August 09, 2022 2 min read

When were desks invented?

The word desk originates from the 14th-century Latin work desca, which means to write on. The first desk was invented in the late 1600s though before this people were using some type of writing tables. These writing tables looked like a chest of drawers though the top part was able to be sloped so that it could be rolled down to expose the writing area.

The early desks were just adaptations is previous existing furniture than a brand new invention. The first desk wasn’t actually invented for another century. In the early 1700s, the knee whole desk was invented in the United Kingdom. It came with two pedestals of drawers and a space for your knees to slide underneath the writing area.

Modern desks have followed a similar format. Desks were often used by women to write on. As time went on larger desks became available as people looked for more storage near their writing space.

Throughout the 1800s, desks were created for offices and homes. The home desks were smaller and more decorative and the office desks were larger and a lot more practical.

In 1880, the school desk was invented. These types of desks were attached to each other and would allow up to 2 or 3 children to sit at them. The bench in front was attached to the desk that was behind it and there was also a small inkwell in the corner of the desk.

In the 1970s desks changed, when plastic became available and it was cheaper than hand-crafted wood and steel desks. Modern desks were created with plastic, fibreboard and a round aluminium frame. It usually had a basket hanging underneath that allowed the children to store their belongings in. These desks also came with a plastic chair and a wooden writing board.

Today there are so many different types of desks. You can purchase wooden bureaus or secretaries, you can also purchase a modern desk that is made with lightweight materials that are also very strong and sturdy.

Dylan Bowen
Dylan Bowen


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