If you've been to the schoolhouse, you've seen our incredible and varied collection of old desks, ALL donated to us by members of our generous community. (We have become a school desk orphanage!) Just this week, this beautiful desk was donated, which is the exact desk shown in an early 20th century advertisement that we have displayed at the schoolhouse. Can you spot it?
The history of the school desk is quite interesting. In the 1880s, John Loughlin invented the first specialized school desk which was sold through the widely popular Sears & Roebuck catalog. Known as the “Fashion Desk”, the name was a result of a popular media campaign. The United States enacted public school laws around this time which contributed to the huge success of this style.
In the 1920s, education evolved from writing on slate and sharing primers to writing on paper and owning textbooks. Children needed a place to stash papers and books, so the school desk design evolved to include cubby holes, small shelves or liftable lids. This style continued well into the 1960s when manufacturers began to prefer steel and chrome to more expensive wood and iron designs.
Make sure to stop by the schoolhouse to see our incredible collection, and learn more about the wonderful one-room schoolhouse experience!