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Desk, Flat-Top Partner


TitleDesk, Flat-Top Partner
Artist/MakerS. Karpen and Brothers, Chicago, IL
Date1909
MediumMahogany, leather
Dimensions h. 30.25 x  w. 75.5 x  d. 42.5 in. ( h. 76.8 x  w. 191.8 x  d. 108 cm)
Credit LineU.S. Senate Collection
Accession Number65.00118.000


  • Object Description
  • Designed by New York cabinetmaker Thomas D. Wadelton (1861-1931), this mahogany flat-top desk was custom-made by S. Karpen and Bros. for the Russell Senate Office Building, which opened on March 5, 1909.

    A standard set of furniture was made for each senator's suite and included a flat-top desk, a swivel desk chair, a round arm chair, a square arm chair, a small side chair, an easy chair, and a davenport.

    For the project, S. Karpen and Bros. of Chicago, Illinois (under contract with George W. Cobb, Jr.) manufactured 125 mahogany partner desks at a cost of $80.00 each. In 1933, when the office building was expanded, six additional desks were manufactured in walnut by the Company of Master Craftsmen, Inc., of New York, New York (under contract with W.J. Sloane, Inc.). For ease of identification, the manufacturer's contract referred to the desk as "Type A."

    The imposing desk features a total of six drawers, four writing slides, and two hinged-door cabinets. Each side of the desk is a mirror of the other. The top, drawer fronts, cabinet doors, and sides are all veneered with mahogany, the foot stretcher is upholstered in leather, and each pedestal sits on four turned "bun" feet. Of particular note are the four outset rectangular corners with carved console brackets adorned with a stylized flower blossom. The carved blossom can also be found on the companion swivel and round arm chairs.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings
  • Manufacturer's tag: (interior of both top right drawers) GEO. W. COBB JR. / COMMERCIAL FURNITURE / NEW YORK, N.Y.