Hotel Dresser

lonestarladySeptember 19, 2012

I purchased this dresser over 20 years ago and was told then that it was a 'hotel' dresser. The top drawer is a desk that pulls out, complete with an ink well. We recently replaced the mirror because the original one was cracked in the move (I still have that one), and we have not put it back on yet.

Does anyone know how old it is, and an approximate value? I've never seen another dresser like it for a basis of comparision.


Here is a link that might be useful: Desk drawer

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I have never heard those dresser desks called a hotel dresser....doesn't make much sense to me as it looks like something for long time use....with the cubby holes and all. My girl friend had one when I was young. How I envied her! All I had was a little desk that had been my great grandmother's...!! (poor me!)
It's a very utilitarian style, but made of quarter sawn oak, My guess on time period would be about 1920....and perhaps it was for a school dormitory, or a convent.
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 10:07AM
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I have a chest of drawers in a very similar style and know for a fact it was made circa 1910. So that era give or take ten years is a good guess. Not at all ornate, and sometimes that type of furniture was referred to as in the "Adams" style when it was sold new. It's listed as such in some of my old furniture catalogues, insinuating it is that era's version of early American. Just because it's not ornate and is heavy and functional doesn't make it something other than household furniture, and that's very well what it is. Here's the thing about those monikers hung on antiques when they're bought and sold. Purchasers take it to heart assuming the history of a piece was passed along it's sale's journey. More often than not, someone down the line hangs a guess on it and then it's passed on like it's cut in stone. Happens all the time in genealogy with oral tradition. It's a nice piece and you done good if you got it for a decent price. Shame about the mirror. That happened to a piece I was transporting too and I also shall have to replace it with a modern mirror and they do look different, have a different 'cast' to their reflection and depth of field.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 2:14PM
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Another ppoint in it's favor is the locks on the drawers....

Also a lot of the "monikers" have to do with a seller "romancing the stone" as it were...somewhere along the way. I have a friend who has a "covered wagon rocker" and a "hired hand's bed"...

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 3:49PM
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I'm not following your gist of the locks on the drawers. Can you elaborate?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 7:20PM
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We have one circa 1840ish and in SO's family papers there is an inventory from the 19th c. that referred to it as a Gentleman's Desk or a Gentleman's Secretary.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 11:22PM
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Calliope, I think what Linda was saying (correct me if I'm wrong) is that a hotel dresser would not have locks on the drawers. There would be no real need, since there are keyed locks on the doors and most guests had a lockable trunk or suitcase. In fact, it would be a disadvantage, since guests would inadvertently walk off with keys.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 8:08AM
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I swear I thought I posted just what chibimimi just said! Guess that's one of those things where I wrote a post but the phone rang before I could post!

Anyhow, lockless dressers like that were often seen in dorm rooms and in lower end hotels...

Pal, I'll bet your 1840 gentlemen's desk looks very different from the one pictured. Perhaps we could see a picture of yours?
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:10AM
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Thank you all so much for the information. If I remember correctly, I paid in the neighborhood of $250 for the dresser 20 years ago.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 9:36AM
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Also known as a "Butler's Desk". It hid the sordid details of paying bills by looking like an ordinary dresser.

I can easily see that piece in a dormitory, because of the mirror. Multi-function, inexpensive and sturdy .. dorm furniture.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 10:08AM
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The ink well probably dates it before 1945. If it was in a residence, there may be ink stains around the inkwell. If the inkwell was never used or the prior owner(s) were very careful it will be very clean.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 3:44AM
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