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If this video of a desk from 18th German cabinet makers the Roentgens (pronounced “RUNT-ghen”) doesn’t blow your neck bolts, nothing will. This and other furniture from the father and son team of Abraham and David are part of “Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens,” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art until Jan 27th. [Thanks to Alberto Gáitan and Stephen Ellcock!]

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.



  1. Jarret Clark says:

    OMG I need the plans! This is phenomenal!

  2. David Gaipa says:

    I wish I had enough time and talent to make that. I wonder how much it would cost to buy something like that now…

    1. Alan S. Blue says:

      Considering the prices of competent hardwood cabinets ( -without- the fancy inlay work, the secret compartments, -or- any internal mechanisms…. I’m going to go with “priceless”.

  3. Ben says:

    ….not able to close my mouth….

  4. miroslava von schlochbaum says:

    that really is amazing. i suppose we must suppose that to re-set all those falling weights it’s only a matter of shoving whatever popped-out back in?…i suppose?

  5. chuck says:

    Wait a sec… I know I have a pen in here somewhere.

    1. Dirk Lucas says:

      Actually, someone would need to draw me a map if I had to use one of those.
      And where does the liquor go?

      Absolutely amazing.

  6. Drillbert G Pressington says:

    I didn’t even -know- I had neck bolts. But, indeed, they are in fact blown.

    I’m sure mcmaster-carr has a neck bolt section here somewhere…

  7. Gregory Hayes says:

    Eat your heart out, James Bond.

  8. Draken says:

    I’d mount a blade server with a NAS in it.

  9. Jerry Carter says:

    Wow. Master craftsmanship. The inlays alone take an abundance of time and patience to design, craft and assemble. On today’s market, materials and labor, built new, this would probably rival the price of low end super car. Probably not less that $100,000 for the time a master artisan would have in this. Probably a lot more.

    Incidentally, there’s a great free book on Google Play that covers some of the techniques and skills for making such complex inlays with repeating patterns.

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  11. [...] the article Roentgens’ Desks, 18th Century Transformers, author Gareth Branwyn said, “If this video of a desk from 18th German cabinet makers the [...]