Saturday, June 18, 2011

English Campaign Desk

English Campaign Desk - Photo #1
This nifty little writing box arrived in the mail yesterday.   I told you I was having a good mail week!  I ordered this online from Acorn, a website that sells a variety of gift items.  I also get the Acorn mail order catalog which is almost as much fun to peruse as J. Peterman's catalog. 

This box is listed as an English Campaign Desk.  Prior to the 20th century this kind of thing was a common item used by military men and explorers.  They moved around a lot and needed a compact box that was useful for storage as well as writing.

This is not a lap desk.  It's designed to be used on a table.  Photo #1 shows the front of the box in closed position.  In this position, the deminsions are 10.5 inches by 8.75 inches by 3 inches.

Photo #2 (scroll down) shows the writing surface open. This sloped surface is 10.5 inches wide and 8.75 inches from top to bottom.  If you like to write on full 8.5 inch by 11 inch paper, this might be a bit small.  Since most of my handwriting is done on half-sheet sized stationery, notecards, and post cards, it suits my purposes.

Before I got this dandy little box I had not had any experience writing on a slope.  I'm happy to say the slope solves a problem for me.  I wear trifocals, and the slope puts the paper in just the right position for viewing through the bottom lens of my glasses.  When I write on a flat surface, I find myself alternating between the bottom and middle lenses of my glasses and not having my writing in perfect focus either way.  But this, of course, is my personal problem. 

Photo #2

Photo #3 shows the little "file" section open.  You can store stationery here, but there are some things to consider.  If the stationery is too big and sticks out of the file slots, it will be damaged when the box is closed.  If post cards are dropped down in these slots, you can't get hold of them to get them out.  I'm going to solve this problem by custom making a mini file folder for each slot.  These folders will stick out just enough for me to get hold of them.  I can keep post cards and small notecards in these folders and be able to reach them by lifting the folders out.

My only criticism of this box is that the file folder section does not stand up on its own.  It appears to stand up in this photo because its leaning on the side panel of the piece of furniture that its on.  My handy husband says this can be fixed with two little eyelet screws and a little bit of chain.  He's gathering the supplies to make this modification.  When it's done I'll make another post with a photo and a report on how it works.

Photo #3

Photo #4 is a close-up of the middle section, showing all the neat little compartments.  Underneath the compartment at the bottom of the photo is a little drawer.  You'll want to keep things you don't get to often in here because whatever is in the center section has to be taken out to get to the drawer.  It's a little unhandy, but the drawer is a way to make use of space that would be wasted otherwise.

Photo #4

Let me add that this writing box has a slight odor about it, although I don't find it to be unpleasant.  Is this a funiture oil that was applied to the box or is this the natural smell of teakwood?  I don't know. 

Although this is a new item, it is made in the distressed fashion so that it will look like an antique - and it does.  I think "English campaign desk" is a mouthful so I'm calling this my safari desk.  I can picture Stanley in his tent - sitting at his safari desk - penning a note to Livingston.  No, wait - he couldn't pen a note to Livingston.  He was trying to find Livingston.  Oh well, you get the idea. 


Abby said...

That is a pretty nice desk! I like the sloping writing surfaces.

Judith B. Landry said...

Hey, Abby! So good to hear from you. I miss your letters, but I remember how busy I was when I was in college.

Observe Closely said...

Thanks, Judith, for the review! Very complete and thorough. The chain would, of course, do the job of holding the back up. But a "friction hinge" would be more compact and more sleek. (Friction hinge = "A hinge that uses internal friction to hold the hinged part in a selected position.") I wonder if it could be retro-fitted with a friction hinge, of the right design . . . hmm!!!

Judith B. Landry said...

Hmm. Didn't know about friction hinges - another possibility to consider. Thanks!