Wanting to do something different, I recently went out to visit a few antique shops. I discovered many things wonderous and mundane as is typical. These three are not as they seem and I find them worthy of being shared.

First up is a desk with a secret. I haven’t seen one of these in a while. I’m not sure if it is my declining skill in finding them or there just hasn’t been one to be found. Whichever, here is the desk:


A handsome Georgian number. Around $3,600 as I remember.

The main drawer bottoms are made of several board that over a few hundred years were not dimensionally stable:


Wood shrinks and splits, who knew?

An appropriately handsome gallery:


Fancy but not to fancy.

A lot of wood in the drawer fronts:


Drawers are not dovetailed.

Nice prospect door:


Brass inlay.

Nothing within the prospect:


Nothing but air. Doesn’t look like there was ever anything in there. That is unusual.

I reached in to see if there were finger notches to push out the letter boxes on either side of the door. I made a discovery:


The entire prospect moved.

An it turns out that the letter boxes come out the back:


No dovetails here either.

There is also a less than obvious drawer above the door:


Not obvious but is it a secret?

Next is the deception. This deception might have worked better when young and the doors hung true:


Things sag as they age. Again, who knew?

The press is actually an armoire:


No shelves or drawers, just green. Is it the original green or at least a historically accurate green?

And now, the mystery. I speak of this large, two piece press, shelves and drawers:


A large, hulking press.

The upper section is shelved:


Not tidy within but that is why there are doors! A good place to hide inventory.

Drawers below:


And yes, they’re dovetailed.

Now, here’s the mystery: how do you access the area between the shelves and drawers? Storage space was always at a premium. I do not believe that the builder would have left the space unused. There are rough sawn board internally above the drawers so the space was not intended to be unused.


There is lots of inaccessible space between the shelves and drawers.

I don’t think the only access to the space is by lifting off the upper section. The carcass is pinned frame and panel construction so nothing comes off or is hinged.

My only conclusion is the access was gained by lifting out the bottom shelves of the upper section, the top over the lower section being left open. Those bottom shelves did seem loose and not part of the carcass. Inconvenient but workable. I didn’t have the time, patience or chutzpah to try so I don’t know.

Then the question is is it a secret or mystery or just something we don’t know because it is not now in common use?