fall front

Fall front desk

The fall front desk can be considered the cousin of the Secretary desk. Both have a main working surface or desktop which does double duty as a cover to seal up papers and other items located in small shelves or small drawers placed one on top of the other in front of the user. Thus, all working papers, documents and other items have to be stored before the desk is closed.

Unlike the secretary desk, the fall front desk's desktop panel is in a perfectly vertical position when in its closed position. Often, there are no additional shelves or drawers above the section which is enclosed by the desktop. Thus, the fall front desk is identical in shape to a Bargueno desk which would have been placed on a stand of drawers, or more precisely to the form know as Desk on a chest or as "chest-on chest".

The fall front desk is also called a drop front desk or drop-front desk, and sometimes also a drop lid desk. Scrutoire and scriptoire are ancient variations. The "secrétaire à abattant" is a nearly identical form, but usually in a French style such as Louis XV, Art Deco, etc.. In the early 19th century Shaker communities produced a tall and plain variation which is often known as a "cupboard desk".

See also the list of desk forms and types.


  • Aronson, Joseph. The Encyclopedia of Furniture. 3rd ed. New York: Crown Publishers, 1966.
  • Boyce, Charles. Dictionary of Furniture. 2nd ed. New York: Roundtable Press Book, 2001.
  • Charron, Andy. Desks: Outstanding Projects from America's Best Craftsmen. Taunton press, 2000. pp. 88-107.
  • Gloag, John. A Complete Dictionary of Furniture. Woodstock, N.Y. : Overlook Press, 1991.
  • Moser,Thomas. Measured Shop Drawings for American Furniture. New York: Sterling Publlishing Inc., 1985.
  • Romand, Didier. L'argus des meubles. Paris: Balland, 1976.
  • Souchal, Genevieve. French Eighteeenth Century Furniture. Translated by Simon Watson Taylor. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1963.
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