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Stationary Box
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Title: Stationary Box
Identifier: 979.6.1262
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1850-1900
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A portable stationary box made out of wood, with a varnished oak veneer. The box has a sloped front with two doors. The doors have a brass lock and key closure. The lock is embossed with the name "Bramah". A top section of the desk flips up to display a calendar with partitions and small display windows for the day, day number, and month. Printed cards are stored behind the windows in their respective partitioned sections. The centre window is a small circle while the two flanking windows are rounded cruciform shapes. The doors fold open on long brass hinges to reveal a partitioned box of many sections for holding letters, envelopes, paper etc. The inside of the proper left door has a three-sided wooden frame which holds a framed glass slate message board (13.5 x 10.0 cm) which slides into place through the open top side. The proper right side is decorated with 9 brass studs. A wooden bar and two brass armatures (3.5 cm) to hold writing paper in place. In the centre box section, the two bottom partitions are fitted with concave trays for holding pens and pencils. One tray is removable and made of ebony. At the bottom of the box is a secret drawer which pulls out.

Towards the end of the 18th Century and into the 19th Century the writing box or portable desk emerged as a prominent feature of everyday life. With the increase of travel (pleasure tours for the rich, business for the poor) and the development of industry the need for an organized and portable writing materials and surface led to the development of the writing box. Original boxes had a sloped surface for writing but the tops were soon designed flat to make for easier storage during travel. What started out as a simple utilitarian product quickly became more elaborate as boxes were decorated with veneers and pearl and brass inlays. Through the 19th century different styles (in shape and decoration) of boxes came in and out of vogue. The stationary box evolved out of the writing box. Stationary boxes were not usually intended for travel but for use on a desk. Stationary boxes and writing boxes were personal objects kept by individuals for their own needs. They were not intended for use by multiple people. http://www.hygra.com/writing.html

Bramah locks were created by Joseph Bramah in 1784. Joseph Bramah was a noted inventor of the industrial revolution who patented over 18 new ideas. Bramah locks were used in many high quality pieces of furniture and other household items like tea caddy's and writing boxes. http://www.bramah.co.uk/default.asp?lnc=about_history
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