SS Coleman

My father retired from his law prac­tice about a year ago. More recent­ly, he and his wife sold their home and moved west to Arkansas. In this process, he’s been try­ing to both down­size their house­hold as well as get rid of many years worth of office items. My broth­ers went to help clean out a stor­age unit a cou­ple of months ago and returned with one of the ’50s-era, met­al office desks that my father had in his law office.

Metal Desk

The desk is bat­tle­ship gray, with quite a few dings and scratch­es. How­ev­er, it’s very stur­dy (as it’s made of approx­i­mate­ly 1,000 tons of sheet met­al) and still in pret­ty good shape. The dam­age it has is more along Wabi-sabi1 than dis­re­pair, so I’m okay with it for the most part.

This, along with a sim­i­lar style desk, were in my father’s office since I was very young. Also, since I was very young, I’ve always been fas­ci­nat­ed with not only space explo­ration and tech­nol­o­gy, but the aes­thet­ic that is asso­ci­at­ed with those things. If you can imag­ine the desk that an engi­neer at either NASA or IBM might have sat at some­time in the ear­ly ’60s, you’re think­ing of a desk like this.

This par­tic­u­lar desk has an inter­est­ing fea­ture where a cor­ner of the desk is low­er than the work sur­face to acco­mo­date a type­writer (no doubt, sized for a 1961 IBM Selec­tric).

Metal Desk: Keyboard Shelf

This desk also has draw­ers (!), unlike my old wood desk. I just need to clean up the glides a bit. I’ve of course nev­er heard a dying ptero­dactyl, but I think I have a very good idea what one might sound like based on the bot­tom draw­er opening.

  1. It’s worth not­ing here that my wife does­n’t par­tic­u­lar­ly care for the desk. Prob­a­bly for two rea­sons: 1) She (right­ly) notes that it real­ly does­n’t fit in with pret­ty much any oth­er fur­ni­ture in my office, let alone the rest of the house and 2) she —at some fun­da­men­tal lev­el— does­n’t rec­og­nize the con­cept of Wabi-sabi. That is, not that she does­n’t get the idea, just that in her opin­ion, it’s just wear and tear that should be fixed rather than aes­thet­ic appeal. []
Categorized as Life

By Jason Coleman

Structural engineer and technical content manager Bentley Systems by day. Geeky father and husband all the rest of time.

1 comment

  1. haha, this is great! is this con­sid­ered a left or right hand­ed version?
    also, I have the same Celle chair, also great.

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