Roentgens’ Desks, 18th Century Transformers

Furniture & Lighting
Roentgens’ Desks, 18th Century Transformers
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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!]

28 thoughts on “Roentgens’ Desks, 18th Century Transformers

  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. M Lange (@errorad) says:


  4. Ben says:

    ….not able to close my mouth….

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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…

  8. Gregory Hayes says:

    Eat your heart out, James Bond.

  9. Draken says:

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

  10. 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.

  11. El escritorio secreto de Abraham Roentgen - Tecnología Obsoleta says:

    […] _______________ Vía: Make Roentgens’ Desks, 18th Century Transformers […]

  12. MAKE | Your Comments says:

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

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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