H68.98.1

1874 - 1876
52 in|6.75 in HIGH x 36.25 in WIDE x 24.25 in DEEP
(132.08 cm|17.14 cm HIGH x 92.07 cm WIDE x 61.59 cm DEEP)
Museum Purchase
H68.98.1


Desk. Description: Wooton Patent Desk, patented in 1874 by William S. Wooton and manufactured by the Wooton Desk Co. in Indianapolis. The doors open to reveal numerous drawers, pigeon holes and cubby holes; writing surface lowers into position revealing yet more compartments. This desk is a quite early model: the letter box plate has a decoration which disappears in later models; the plates around the outside of both the letter box plate and the name plate are of a design that is changed in later models; the rounded-out corners on the applied moldings are of the earliest design; there are pigeonholes under the flap at the top instead of the later small shelves; etc. History: Originally owned by Walter S. Scammell, father of Mrs. Leonard Woods of Oakland. Used in his business, Scammell Shipping and Lumber Co. located in the Fife Building at the corner of Drumm, California, and Market Streets. Business operated ca. 1895-1906. After the earthquake, the desk was moved to Oakland, and later installed in the home of Mrs. Woods. About 1958 sold home to the Lydings along with the desk. References/Remarks: B. L. Walters, The King of Desks, Wooton's Patent Secretary. Ormsbee, p. 260. Oakland Museum exhibition (1983) re: Wooton Patent Desks. From the History Information Station: William S. Wooton submitted his first patent for a desk "constructed in three parts" in 1874. The doors of this desk can be closed and locked, keeping business papers safe from pryng eyes. When opened, papers could be organized and filed in the slot in the left-hand door. Underneath the flap at the top is a hidden compartment for top secret papers. The Wooton Desk Company manufactured two kinds of desks in four grades and several decorative styles. Between 1874 and 1890, the company shipped desks across the country and as far away as India, Egypt and China. Company advertising proclained: "With this desk a man absolutely has no excuse for slovenly habits in the disposal of his numerous papers." A place for everything and everything in its place was the motto of the day.

Used: Walter S. Scammell | Scammell Shipping and Lumber Co. ~ Oakland

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