December 2, 2023
This combination desk and chair sold for $1,586 at Neal Auction in New Orleans. It is attributed to Stephen Hedges, who patented the design in 1854.

The 19th century was a time of innovation in wooden furniture. New inventions, such as the jigsaw, and construction methods, such as mass production, opened up previously unheard-of possibilities for architects and designers. 

One such designer was Stephen Hedges of New York, whose patent for a “combined table and chair,” filed in April 1854, can be viewed online in Google Patents. His invention appears to be a small round table, but, with half the hinged tabletop folded back, opens into a desk joined to a semicircular chair. One example made of mahogany with leather upholstery and attributed to Hedges sold at Neal Auction in New Orleans for $1,586. 

This style of convertible desk and chair is sometimes known as an “Aaron Burr desk” after the statesman and third vice president of the United States. As often happens when a style is associated with a historical figure, it isn’t based on a true story.


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