Bradley and Hubbard six-piece brass desk set

Bradley and Hubbard with elephants and note small fileBradley and Hubbard was founded in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1852.  Initially they made only clocks, but with the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania in 1859, they branched into kerosene-burning lamps.  The company grew rapidly and added all manner of products, mostly of brass, and gained a reputation for high quality and artistic merit.

One of the founders, Walter Hubbard, was a distant relative of mine – he and I are descended from my 5th great grandfather – and the coincidence of the name and my interest in things related to writing led me to purchase this Art Deco desk set which was made between 1930 and 1940. Continue reading

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Bradley and Hubbard brass desk set

Bradley and Hubbard with elephants and note small fileBradley and Hubbard was founded in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1852.  Initially they made only clocks, but with the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania in 1859, they branched into kerosene-burning lamps.  The company grew rapidly and added all manner of products, mostly of brass, and gained a reputation for high quality and artistic merit.

One of the founders, Walter Hubbard, was a distant relative of mine – he and I are descended from my 5th great grandfather – and the coincidence of the name and my interest in things related to writing led me to purchase this Art Deco desk set which was made between 1930 and 1940. Continue reading

A Replica of Thomas Jefferson’s Writing Desk

Jefferson Desk with book candle and declaration small fileThomas Jefferson traveled frequently between his home in Virginia and Philadelphia.  To facilitate his constant correspondence, he designed and had custom made a portable lap writing desk unlike any other of its time.  On this very desk, he wrote the Declaration of Independence, and the original desk is now in the Smithsonian Institute.

Jefferson’s design is quite different than most writing slopes of the era.  They are usually bulky boxes that can’t be used except in a wide-open position.  Also, their storage compartments for writing material are usually underneath the writing surfaces, which makes it awkward to retrieve more material while using the writing surface.  Jefferson designed this lap desk so that it could easily be used while closed, partially open, or completely open.  The storage compartment for inkwells, quills, and writing material is a drawer that slides out from the side without interfering with the writing surface.  Also, the writing surface, folded in half, can still be used even if the lap desk is folded shut, as it might be if one were holding it in one’s lap while riding in a carriage. Continue reading