Meet the Characters: Antique Leopold Desk

We are often asked at Past and Present Home Gallery if our building had ever been a bank. The answer is actually no, because the 700 square-foot vault that is now home of the Man Cave housed furs, and not currency, for the Bartholomew Fur Company until it closed in 1995. However, with the many antique treasures and vintage finds that come through our doors, we get to host bank related items on a regular basis. Our current guest is this 1920’s desk from the Leopold Desk Company.

The Banker: An Antique Leopold Desk

The Leopold Desk Company began in Burlington, Iowa in 1886 as the Northwestern Furniture Company and specialized in the construction of bookcases and sideboards for offices. In 1888, the company changed its name to the Rand-Leopold Desk Company and began manufacturing other types of office furniture including desks. In 1900, the company changed its name again to the Leopold Desk Company. Whatever the name of the company, it was a thriving business that utilized local timber, mostly the maple and oak from area farms, to create some of the most desired desks on the market. It is estimated that during the company’s peek it produced close to 30,000 desks per year.

The desk hosted at Past and Present Home Gallery is from “The Banker” series manufactured between 1920 and 1930 and seems to be a mixture of two of that line’s patterns: it has the size and modesty panel of Pattern 2866 with the drawer pedestals from Pattern 2366. The center drawer on our desk is also different from the catalog's illustration with square edges instead of rounded. While we are unable to verify if this specific desk was ever used in a bank, with its grand size, beautiful features, and well maintained condition it must have helped someone accomplish something important. And it can help you accomplish your tasks that are just as important.

  General Officer Furniture Leopold Desks 1920-1930 catalog page 19. Retrieved March 8, 2017. Special thanks to the University of Iowa Digital Library.

General Officer Furniture Leopold Desks 1920-1930 catalog page 19. Retrieved March 8, 2017. Special thanks to the University of Iowa Digital Library.

Come in to Past and Present Home Gallery to view this beautiful desk along with all of the other amazing antique and vintage furniture pieces in our showroom. While you’re here, make sure to browse through the lower level and check out the non-bank vault known as the Man Cave. Can’t wait to see you at Past and Present Home Gallery, the antique store with character!