At First You Think It’s Just A Normal Cabinet, Until He Turns The Key

Constructed in 1778 and 1779 by David Roentgen of Germany and his mechanic, Johann Christian Krause, the secretary cabinet is a true masterwork and considering it was delivered to King Frederick William II of Prussia, it really had to be. You might have noticed that Roentgen had a mechanic in his employ.

Why have a mechanic? Well, as soon as the key is placed into the lock and turned, it immediately becomes apparent. This is no ordinary writing desk. A series of gears, pulleys, springs, and weights controls a variety of hidden compartments and other unusual features. The smoothness of the way in which each compartment opens or transforms is remarkable considered there are no electric motors or computers at all. This secretary has more in common with a well-made watch than that thing your computer’s sitting on.

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