Tuesday, February 16, 2010

'Wooten' you love a desk like this?

From typewriters to desks, with a little hiatus...

A new antique store has sent me a photo of an amazing desk, the Wooton, which in its time (1870-1889) was known as the "King of Desks" with good reason: In an age when file cabinets weren't yet in general use, this decorative and well-thought-out office furniture provided more than 100 cubbyholes, pigeonholes and shelves for keeping important papers and office aids.

Francine Esposito at the new Highway 41 Antique Emporium in Morro Bay, CA offered us several shots of her Wootons, so we could see them closed and locked, and fully opened in their working state. As advertisements of the time announced, there was "no excuse for slovenly habits" when you had a Wooton, because there was literally a place for everything.

Designer William Wooton was the eighth of 13 children, and in such a crowded household it's easy to imagine that he grew up with a high regard for the ability to stash and lock up one's treasures.

But he also acquired the Victorian love of elegance ~ quality woods, carvings, gold leaf and exquisite finishes, and his factory in Indianapolis was known for work that looked handcrafted, not mass-produced. No ordinary desks, they were called Patent Cabinet Office Secretaries.

Everyone of note, from Queen Victoria to John D. Rockefeller and Joseph Pulitzer had a Wooton.

Francine Esposito's new 12,000 sq. ft. store has been open six weeks and already has 36 spaces occupied by antique dealers, as well as 27 showcases. "We're offering a new concept," says the store website, "Dealers pay no commission and no fees." The mall has a blog, too, where new arrivals and new dealers can get some exposure. So you can cybervisit in advance, and next time you're driving the gorgeous California coast, you can stop in Morro Bay, visit the store at 520 Atascadero Road and meet Francine in person.