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Telephone deskThe telephone desk is the smallest kind of fixed desk. Its traditional role is to provide a working surface barely large enough to write notes while speaking on the telephone, and in some cases to support the telephone and maybe hold telephone books. In early generations of telephones the phone apparatus itself had a small desk built-in. This was most common in wall mounted telephones of the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.
The original illustrations done for this article show front and side views of such an antique wall phone with a small slanted desk surface fitted with two ridges to keep paper and pencil from falling to the floor.
The telephone desk has usually been a domestic piece of furniture. In an office a telephone would normally be placed on any form of desk, as close as possible to its users.
In the last 50 years of the 20th century a domestic telephone desk would usually be placed next to a phone located in an entryway or a small lobby. The telephone desk is rapidly becoming an antique form, with the widespread use of the cellular telephone, and the portable phone, which permit complete liberty of movement and make note-taking possible on any table or desk in a home.
In the past any telephone booth or call box used to have a tiny built-in desk surface for the convenience of customers. An increase in vandalism and a higher concern for costs has led to the gradual elimination of these minuscule desk surfaces.
See also the list of desk forms and types.
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