Posted on October 29, 2012.
This is an extremely rare and sought after industrial steel desk designed by Norman Bel Geddes in the 1930’s for Simmons Furniture Company. We found the desk at an antique store in Northern California. The paint was chipped, the body had rust, and the linoleum top was destroyed.
We stripped the old paint and treated the rust areas. We then went about fixing several dents and dings that the desk had suffered over the past 90 years. We searched and searched until we located just the right color to match the original paint. We then painted and coated the body. We also decided to paint the drawer white rather than repaint it the same color as the body.
The linoleum on the desk top was sanded, and sanded, and sanded, until the wood substrate below was fully exposed. We then scoured back alley cabinet shops until we located a piece of linoleum that closely matched the original. The top was then replaced using industrial contact cement to ensure a lifetime of durability. Much time and sweat, and some blood went into restoring this piece, and we absolutely love its revivified state.
Norman Bel Geddes was born Norman Melancton Geddes in Adrian, Michigan, and raised in New Philadelphia, Ohio. When he married a woman named Helen Belle Schneider in 1916, they incorporated their names to Bel Geddes. Their daughter was well known actress Barbara Bel Geddes.
Geddes helped popularize the Streamlined aesthetic in the 1930s and ’40s, with designs for products like the red-white-and-blue Patriot radio for Emerson and the curvaceous Soda King seltzer bottle for Walter Kidde, as well as numerous unrealized designs, like that of a bullet-shaped train with an aluminum body. The self-taught Geddes was an accomplished theatrical designer, which enabled him to put his forward-thinking ideas into enticing form, as in his best-known project, the General Motors pavilion and its Futurama exhibit at the 1939-40 World’s Fair in New York. There, Geddes created a model of automobile-centric 1960 America, complete with roadways that anticipated the interstate highway system of the 1950s.
Other farsighted Geddes designs included those for prefab housing, streamlined cars (some of whose features the automobile industry adopted decades later) and a stadium for the Brooklyn Dodgers with a suspended roof that could slide open in good weather — an idea that was realized 20 years later in the Houston Astrodome. His predictions for the future, in a 1931 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, included pronouncements like: “Every roof will be a garden” and “Courses and lectures will be broadcast by television from key cities to hundreds of rural branches.” An accompanying book, “Norman Bel Geddes Designs America” (Abrams), which will be published in November, is the first to explore Geddes’s life and career in its entirety.
Bel Geddes designed the desk for sale here as part of a metal bedroom furniture collection that was introduced in 1932 by the Simmons Furniture Company. Several of his Simmons designs are on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brooklyn Museum to this day. If you are looking for an item to wow your house guests or inspire imagination in just about anyone, this is the piece for you.
Dimensions are 34" wide by 19 1/2" deep by 31" high.
Buy with Confidence
We’ve carefully crafted Apartment Therapy Classifieds to give honest folks a trusted environment to buy and sell with each other. Whether you’re buying from someone next door or over yonder, we’ve got your back.
- Stats and Verifications — Get to know the seller before you buy from them.
- Personal Messaging — Unclutter your inbox and keep your email private.
- Secure Payments — Make online payment with our secure payment platform.
- No-Hassle Refunds — Get the item you ordered or your money back.
- Friendly Support — Our team is available to help you in any and every way we can.
Contacting the Seller
Interested in a listing? Contact the seller and request to purchase or ask any questions you may have. Be clear, honest, kind and prompt with your replies. Negotiate price, including delivery fees if applicable. Agree on a pick-up location or delivery method if applicable.
Use our dedicated messaging system for all communication. In case of a dispute, these messages serve as a transactional record. For your safety, do not share your email address or personal information. Learn more about trust and safety.
Payments are transacted online through our secure payment platform. Once a seller sends you a payment request, simply click the “Pay Now” button and enter your credit or debit card information. We’ll hold the funds until you receive your purchase.
For in-person pickup, you may choose to pay with cash (or otherwise), but keep in mind that we cannot offer a refund should a problem arise. Learn more about acceptable payment methods.
Sellers can offer different options for delivery ranging from in-person pickup and local delivery to domestic and international shipping. For your protection, sellers are required to use our payment platform when shipping and offer you a tracking number. Learn more about avoiding scams and staying safe during in-person pickups.
When using our payment platform, if you do not receive your purchase or if it is substantially not as advertised, we’ll refund your payment including shipping fees if applicable. Contact us immediately at email@example.com and do not confirm receipt on the order. Once payment is transferred to the seller, it may not be possible to recoup the funds.
Each seller may have a different return policy. In most cases, a seller will not accept returns. Before making payment, ask the seller about their return policy.
We find that members most often resolve their own issues through direct contact. However, if a resolution cannot be found, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make it our mission to make sure both parties are happy. To fully protect yourself, always communicate through our messaging system and pay through our payment platform.
In your messages, you have the ability to privately rate your experience with the seller and conversely, the seller can rate you. Your rating should be based on your personal experience with the seller while using our platform. All member ratings are averaged and displayed on the members corner.
Report as Inappropriate
If you have a general complaint about inappropriate content or activity, please use the “Report as Inappropriate” feature on the specific listing, corner or message. We will be notified and take immediate action. Your report will be kept confidential. The member who is reported will not know who reported them. Additionally, our review will be handled discreetly.
Other questions? Contact us at email@example.com for prompt assistance.