School Days Revisited

Photo of set of two antique school desks.In the Pacific Northwest, we tend to start school later in the year than most places. That means, for us, school lets out later than most places, too. This year, due to excessive snow days during the winter that we’ve had to make up, today is finally the last day of school for us.

For students, the last thing they typically want to think about on the last day of school is school desks. Well, we’re no longer students so we do!

Recently, we picked up this beautiful pair of E.H. Stafford school desks. We see them periodically, though it’s usually just one desk with the bench seat attached to the front of it. When we found this set locally, we were ecstatic since it’s unusual to find them this way!

The E.H. Stafford Co. was founded in 1890 in Muskegon, Michigan, was reincorporated as E.H. Stafford Manufacturing Co. in 1904 and was in business until 1920. Based on the imprint on the cast iron on these desks, that puts the manufacture of these particular desks sometime between 1904 and 1920. Besides school furnishing, the company also made church and office furniture as well as opera chairs.

We were lucky enough to purchase these desks from a local family that was liquidating their parents’ estate. The desks had been removed from one of our local Catholic schools sometime in the late 1940s – early 1950s and had been with this particular family ever since. They had resided in the kids’ playroom and the eldest daughter recounted to us how she and her brothers and sister would sit at them to color or play school when they were children.

The desks measure 25″ high x 21.5″ wide. With the bench down, the complete set is 52 inches long (42 with it folded up). The ink holes are 5.5″ deep (there is a shelf below them to hold books) and 1.75″ in diameter. The wood, as would be expected after 100 years of use, has some ink staining and scratches but is in remarkably great shape given its age. The folding benches work well; a testament to the level of craftsmanship put into the pieces.

Like so many of the treasures we pick up along our journeys, these gorgeous desks are for sale and looking for a new home. Whether you use them as their previous family did or repurpose them as a bench with table in your foyer or porch area, they’re sure to get attention!


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