Mar 062014
1881 style school desk as mudroom storage

Circa 1880 – School desk used for mudroom seating.

The last topic in our teaching kids family history series is a little unusual….using your parents’ school desk.

Do you even know what kind of desk your parents’ used in school? Bet your kids don’t know what your desk looked like!

School desk design has evolved over the last few centuries. Before the days of chromed legs, plastic seats, and laminate tabletops there was wood and metal. Before the days of table and chairs, school desks were one-piece units.

I found several images that show ways to use desks from different eras in your home…..but how does this teach kids family history? It is a conversation starter.

From one-room schoolhouses and desks with inkwells to lift top desks with book storage to large individual classrooms with desks for two, the vast differences in educational methods can be seen in school desk design.

Your parents school experience was different from yours…..and so was your grandparents. The school desk used has a story to tell about the hours spent in class. Do you know those stories?

heirloom wooden school desk for kids playroom

Haven’t found a date on this desk but it’s an all wood, one-piece unit. Works well for “playing school”. Imagine sitting in this all day!

vintage wood school desk in kids room

Circa 1900 – Edwardian antique oak with an inkwell that is now used for pencil storage.

metal and wood vintage school desk

Circa 1920 – Inkwell still in use, pencil slot added and bent metal base introduced.

metal and wood vintage school desk in kids playroom

1940’s by Norman Bel Geddes – streamline one-piece desk with more metal than wood. Bet the students loved the swivel seat!

1946 style kids school desk

Circa 1946 – Laminated wood and metal base with book storage below the seat.

vintage 1950s kids school desk

Circa 1950’s – beginning of tubular steel use and seat separate from desktop. Book storage returns to tabletop pigeonhole.

Find an old school desk you just love? Before placing it in your home, be sure to read Safely Using Vintage Furniture. The guidelines listed will help you determine if the piece is durable enough to safely use in kids’ rooms.

Then, ask your parents about their school experience…..and teach it to your kids. Better yet, let grandpa tell the kids about his schools days.

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Love family history? Love heirlooms? Be sure to catch all the posts in Teaching Kids Family History using Heirloom Accessories {2}:

And look for Series {1} posts on Using Family Photos, Using Vintage Toys, The Family Tree, Baby Clothing as Art, and Antique Kids’ Furniture.

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