An office is a room or other area where an organization's employees perform administrative work in order to support and realize objects and goals of the organization. The word "office" may denote a position within an organization with specific duties attached to it; when used as an adjective, the term "office" may refer to business-related tasks. In law, a company or organization has offices in any place where it has an official presence if that presence consists of a storage silo rather than an establishment with desk-and-chair. An office is an architectural and design phenomenon: ranging from a small office such as a bench in the corner of a small business of small size, through entire floors of buildings, up to and including massive buildings dedicated to one company. In modern terms an office is the location where white-collar workers carry out their functions; as per James Stephenson, "Office is that part of business enterprise, devoted to the direction and co-ordination of its various activities."
Offices in classical antiquity were part of a palace complex or of a large temple. The High Middle Ages saw the rise of the medieval chancery, the place where most government letters were written and where laws were copied in the administration of a kingdom. With the growth of large, complex organizations in the 18th century, the first purpose-built office spaces were constructed; as the Industrial Revolution intensified in the 18th and 19th centuries, the industries of banking, insurance, retail and telegraphy grew requiring a large number of clerks, as a result more office space was assigned to house their activities. The time-and-motion study, pioneered in manufacturing by F. W. Taylor led to the "Modern Efficiency Desk" of 1915 with a flat top and drawers below, designed to allow managers an easy view of the workers. However, by the middle of the 20th century, it became apparent that an efficient office required discretion in the control of privacy, the cubicle system evolved; the main purpose of an office environment is to support its occupants in performing their jobs.
Work spaces in an office are used for conventional office activities such as reading and computer work. There are nine generic types of work space, each supporting different activities. In addition to individual cubicles, one can find meeting rooms and spaces for support activities, such as photocopying and filing; some offices have a kitchen area where workers can make their lunches. There are many different ways of arranging the space in an office and whilst these vary according to function, managerial fashions and the culture of specific companies can be more important. While offices can be built in any location and in any building, some modern requirements for offices make this more difficult, such as requirements for light and security; the major purpose of an office building is to provide a workplace and working environment - for administrative and managerial workers. These workers occupy set areas within the office building, are provided with desks, PCs and other equipment they may need within these areas.
The structure and shape of the office is impacted by both management thought as well as construction materials and may or may not have walls or barriers. The word stems from the Latin officium, its equivalents in various romance, languages. An officium was not a place, but rather an mobile'bureau' in the sense of a human staff or the abstract notion of a formal position, such as a magistrature; the elaborate Roman bureaucracy would not be equaled for centuries in the West after the fall of Rome partially reverting to illiteracy, while the East preserved a more sophisticated administrative culture, both under Byzantium and under Islam. Offices in classical antiquity were part of a palace complex or a large temple. There was a room where scrolls were kept and scribes did their work. Ancient texts mentioning the work of scribes allude to the existence of such "offices"; these rooms are sometimes called "libraries" by some archaeologists and the general press because one associates scrolls with literature.
In fact they were true offices since the scrolls were meant for record keeping and other management functions such as treaties and edicts, not for writing or keeping poetry or other works of fiction. The High Middle Ages saw the rise of the medieval chancery, the place where most government letters were written and where laws were copied in the administration of a kingdom; the rooms of the chancery had walls full of pigeonholes, constructed to hold rolled up pieces of parchment for safekeeping or ready reference, a precursor to the bookshelf. The introduction of printing during the Renaissance did not change these early government offices much. Medieval illustrations, such as paintings or tapestries show people in their private offices handling record-keeping books or writing on scrolls of parchment. All kinds of writings seemed to be mixed in these early forms of offices. Before the invention of the printing press and its distribution there was a thin line between a private office and a private library since books were read or written in the same space at the same desk or table, general accounting and personal or private letters were done there.
It was during the 13th century that the English form of the word first appeared w
A tambour desk is a desk with desktop-based drawers and pigeonholes, in a way resembling bureau à gradin. The small drawers and nooks are covered, when required, by reeded or slatted shutters, which retract in the two sides and right, it is "sideways" version of the rolltop desk. Unlike the rolltop desk, the tambour desk uses straight vertical rows of shutters, the work surface rests on a few drawers, which in turn are supported by short legs instead of pedestals. In addition, half of the desktop folds back on itself; the desktop is supported like a secretary desk or a slant top desk when it is unfolded. The tambour desk is an antique form indigenous to the United States of America and should not be confused with the British tambour writing table. List of desk forms and types. Gloag, John. A Complete Dictionary of Furniture. Woodstock, N. Y.: Overlook Press, 1991
Carlton House desk
A Carlton House desk is a specific antique desk form within the more general bureau à gradin form. This form of desk is supposed to have been designed in the 18th century for the Prince of Wales by George Hepplewhite, it is named after Carlton House, at the time the London residence of the Prince, sometimes is known as a Carlton House writing table. The desk resembles a normal writing table, but small drawers above the surface form a "U" shape around the user, instead of facing the user as in a typical bureau à gradin. Unlike other types of bureau à gradin, the Carlton House desk offers no pigeonholes. There are small slopes over each of the desktop drawers at the left and right ends of the "U" shape. Drawings of this type of desk were presented by Hepplewhite in his noted design book, the Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, by Thomas Sheraton in his own book of designs, The Cabinet Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book, thus ensuring its popularity. See the list of desk forms and types. Aronson, Joseph.
The Encyclopedia of Furniture. 3rd ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 1966. Gloag, John. A Complete Dictionary of Furniture. Woodstock, N. Y.: Overlook Press, 1991. Nickerson, David. English Furniture of the Eighteenth Century. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1963
The cylinder desk is a desk that resembles a Bureau Mazarin or a writing table equipped with small stacked shelves in front of the user's main work surface, a revolving cylinder part that comes down to hide and lock up the working papers when the desk is not in use. Like the rolltop desk, invented much the cylinder desk has a fixed work surface: the paperwork does not have to be stored before the desk is shut; some designs, have the capacity to slide the desk surface out a few inches to expand the available work area. The cylinder desk is called "bureau Kaunitz", as it was introduced in France in the first half of the 18th century by Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz the ambassador of the Habsburg Empire to the French court. Regardless of the authenticity of its origin, the French court adopted this type of desk with great enthusiasm; the difficulty of producing wooden cylinder sections which would not warp over the years ensured that such desks were reserved for the rich. A few variants of this form have slats instead of a one-piece cylinder section.
The most famous cylinder desk, the most famous desk of all times, is the Bureau du Roi manufactured for the French royalty in the 18th century. Aronson, Joseph; the Encyclopedia of Furniture, 3rd edition. New York: Crown Publishers Inc. 1965. Boyce, Charles. Dictionary of Furniture. New York: Facts on File Inc. 1985. ISBN 0-8160-1042-0. Brunhammer, Yvonne. Meubles et ensembles, époque Louis XVI. Paris, Éditions Charles Massin, 1965. Pages 59, 60, 61, 65. De Reyniès, Nicole. Le Mobilier Domestique: Vocabulaire Typologique. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1987. Forrest and Paul J. Atterbury; the Bulfinch Anatomy of Antique Furniture: An Illustrated Guide to Identifying Period and Design. London: Bulfinch Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8212-2325-9. Hinckley, F. Lewis. A Directory of Antique Furniture: The Authentic Classification of European and American Designs. New York: Bonanza Books, 1988. ISBN 0-517-01170-0. Oglesby, Catherine. French Provincial Decorative Art. New York: Scribner, 1951. Payne, Christopher, ed. Sotheby's Concise Encyclopedia of Furniture.
London: Conran Octopus, 1989. ISBN 1-85029-197-7. See the list of desk forms and types
A. Cutler & Son
Abner Cutler & Son were cabinetmakers in Buffalo, New York who started production in the late 1820s. The firm was granted seven patents related to the desk's mechanism; the company was known as'Cutler & Son' by the 1870s and exhibited some desks at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. By the early 1900s, the firm was known as the'Cutler Desk Co.' In 1930 it was taken over by the Sikes Chair Co. of Buffalo. The US Patent Office issued a patent for the first American-made rolltop desk to Abner Cutler of Buffalo, NY in 1882. Similar desks had been seen in the United States and Europe before Cutler's patent; the cylinder desk was a predecessor of the rolltop, had been in use in Europe in the 1700s, but warping of the top was common as it was made from a single piece of wood. The tambour desk may be considered an early rolltop though the work surface was only covered by the top; the rolltop became a standard item of the Victorian office. Cutler's company flourished until around 1919, when the rolltop design declined in popularity and was replaced by Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles.
Abner Cutler was born at Paris, Oneida County, N. Y. in 1802 and was the sixth child of Joseph and Dothea Judd. He spent his childhood on a farm and when sixteen years old was apprenticed for three years to Silas Sikes, a cabinet maker of Clinton, New York. After this he was employed by Thomas Constantine in New York where he learnt the trade of cabinet-making. From there he worked in Chittenango, New York, in 1824 started out on his own, he went into partnership with a Mr. Stearns of Mendon, New York, they established themselves as cabinet makers at Black Rock near Buffalo, were soon marketing "fall-leaf" tables; the founder of the firm, Abner Cutler, was the son of Dothea Judd. His first wife, whom he married on 21 January 1828 in Paris, New York, was Lydia Grey and their son Frederick Hudson Cutler, one of seven children, was a partner in the firm. Frederick was married to Ella Amelia Smith. Abner's second wife, whom he married in 1876, was a Mrs Gilmore. Victorian Swing Leg Table by A. Cutler & Son Tabletop Curiosity Shop
A pedestal desk or a tanker desk is a large, free-standing desk made of a simple rectangular working surface resting on two pedestals or small cabinets of stacked drawers of one or two sizes, with plinths around the bases. There is a central large drawer above the legs and knees of the user. Sometimes in the 19th century and modern examples, a "modesty panel" is placed in front, between the pedestals, to hide the legs and knees of the user from anyone else sitting or standing in front; this variation is sometimes called a "panel desk". The smaller and older pedestal desks with such a panel are sometimes called kneehole desks, were placed against a wall. From the mid-18th century onwards, the pedestal desk has had a top, inlaid with a large panel of leather or baize for a writing surface, within a cross-banded border. If the desk has a wooden top surface, it may have a pull-out lined writing drawer, or the pull-out may be fitted with a folding horse to serve as a bookrest. Few non-specialists call this form a pedestal desk.
Most people refer to it as an executive desk, in contrast with the cubicle desk, assigned to those who work under the executive. However, the term executive desk has been applied to so many desk forms as to be misleading, so the less-used but more precise "pedestal desk" has been retained here; the pedestal desk appeared in England, in the 18th century but became popular in the 19th and the 20th, overtaking the variants of the secretary desk and the writing table in sheer numbers. The French stayed faithful to the writing table or bureau plat, which might have a matching paper-case that stood upon it. There were at least two precursors to the pedestal desk: The French bureau Mazarin of the late 17th century and the Chinese jumu desk or scholar's desk, which Europeans knew entirely at second-hand from illustrations on porcelain. However, unlike the pedestal desk, these precursors had an incomplete stack of drawers and compartments holding up the two ends; the cases of drawers were raised about 15–30 cm from the floor on legs.
When a pedestal desk is doubled in size to form a nearly square working surface, drawers are put on both sides to accommodate two users at the same time, it becomes a partners desk. Thomas Chippendale gives designs for such tables, which were used in libraries, as writing tables in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director. Pedestal desks made of steel sheet metal were introduced in 1946 and were popular in America until the 1970s. Called tanker desks, they were used in institutions such as schools and business and government offices; when the pedestal desk form is cut to about two thirds of its normal width, one of the pedestals is replaced by legs, this is called a right pedestal desk or a left pedestal desk, depending on the position of the pedestal. This kind of form is common for a student desk; the pedestal desk is one of the two principal forms of the big campaign desk, used by the military in the past. It can be considered a portable desk in a limited way since the writing surface could be separated from the pedestals, to facilitate transport.
The three separate elements were fitted with large handles on the sides. Computer desk List of desk forms and types Aronson, Joseph; the Encyclopedia of Furniture. 3rd ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 1966. Charron, Andy. Desks: Outstanding Projects from America's Best Craftsmen. Taunton Press, 2000. Pp. 124–144. Gloag, John. A Complete Dictionary of Furniture. Woodstock, N. Y.: Overlook Press, 1991. Moser, Thomas. Measured Shop Drawings for American Furniture. New York: Sterling Publishing Inc. 1985. Media related to Pedestal desks at Wikimedia Commons