A desk is a furniture form and a class of table often used in a work or office setting for reading or writing on or using a computer. Desks often have one or more drawers to store office supplies and papers. Unlike a regular table, usually only one side of a desk is suitable to sit on (though there are some unusual exceptions, such as a partners desk).
Not all desks have the form of a table. For instance, an Armoire desk is a desk built within a large wardrobe-like cabinet, and a portable desk is light enough to be placed on a person's lap.
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Historical Information of the Computer Armoire
Desk-style furniture appears not to have been used in classical antiquity or in other ancient centers of civilization in the Middle East or Far East, but there is no specific proof. Medieval illustrations show the first pieces of furniture which seem to have been designed and constructed for reading and writing.
Before the invention of the movable type printing press in the 15th century, any reader was potentially a writer or publisher or both, since any book or other document had to be copied by hand. The desks were designed with slots and hooks for bookmarks and for writing implements. Since manuscript volumes were sometimes large, and heavy, desks of the period usually had massive structures.
Desks of the Renaissance and later eras had relatively slimmer structures, and more and more drawers as woodworking became more precise and cabinet-making became a distinct trade. It is often possible to find out if a table or other piece of furniture of those times was designed to be used as a desk by looking for a drawer with three small separations (one each for the ink pot, the blotter and the powder tray) and room for the pens.
The desk forms we are familiar with in this beginning of the millennium were born mostly in the 17th and 18th centuries. The ergonomic desk of the last decades is the newest addition to a long list of desk forms, but in a way it is only a refinement of the mechanically complex drawing table or drafting table of the end of the 18th century.
- Italian: Scrivania
- German: Der Schreibtisch
- French: Bureau
- Spanish: Escritorio, Pupitre, Mostrador
- Portuguese (Portugal): Secretária
- Japanese: 机