Watch An Antique Writing Desk Come Alive

From Belle Maison’s European correspondent (my sister Chantal) comes a fascinating video showing off the astonishing mechanized wonders of this eighteenth century writing cabinet from Abraham and David Roentgen. Solid panels open as if by magic, drawers slide forward by pressing concealed switches, and the profusion of hidden compartments would satisfy the most paranoid conspirator. It’s a creation fit for a king, in this case King Frederick Wilhelm in Berlin. The ornamentation and cabinetry is unsurpassed, but the mechanical brilliance of the clockwork-like movable pieces is unique.

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