Dating antique secretary

Take photographs and make simple rubbings of intricate and distinctive details such as embossed metal or shallow-carved wood.

For an unusual lock plate, for example, include a common object such as a pencil, a short ruler or a dollar bill in the photograph to clarify the exact size.

And that is even if you are focusing on only one aspect of this very diverse subject.

Perfectly symmetrical measurements are a clue that your desk was factory- rather than hand-made. Early roll-tops were built of heavy woods such as black walnut, and small local companies might choose from a variety of local hardwoods.A wide variety of resources can help you come close to dating an antique roll-top desk.Take a thorough set of measurements for your desk, including height, depth and width of both the bottom desk and the tambour, or roll-top.Finding a label lets you confirm age from a commercial history.You may come no closer than the date the company went out of business, or you may be able to decipher product codes to determine a specific year of manufacture.

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