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The way offices used to look: Vintage office furniture and sleek mid-century modern desks from 1959

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These desks — as seen in a 1959 office supply catalog — checked all the boxes of furniture design of the era: modernist styles, contemporary materials, muted colors, and no-nonsense design.

This vintage office furniture catalog’s language also reflected the business culture of the time. For example, you could get these desks with an extra-sturdy finish on the top “that cigarettes cannot burn nor can alcohol stain.” And of course, as guys were at the top of the food chain in the business world at the time, the Cole Steel Office Equipment company said the “smart” styling of the items shown “will increase the efficiency and boost morale of your key men.”

Several of these desks were made of largely of steel — which means that if they’re not sitting in an old office somewhere, there’s a good chance they have been recycled into other things by now. So just think: every time you hop in your car, you might be driving around with some metal from a fancy ’50s executive desk.

Vintage office furniture: A large steel executive desk in mist green, with matching credenza

For those who demand the best… Cole proudly presents their Imperial desks, a new concept in dramatic office furniture. Styled for the most discriminating taste. Desks that radiate success and achievement throughout your office. Regarded as the ultimate in desk design.

Sleek and trim as a thoroughbred. Comfortable and colorful. Will bring warmth and charm to your office.

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Vintage office furniture: Cole’s Fleetwood line of modern steel desks

Many top ranking firms select Fleetwood desks for their key personnel.

Luxuriously styled tops designed by foremost craftsmen. Fleetwood desks pay for themselves many times over, by changing the ordinary office into an inspiring place to work. Colorful surroundings attract and hold the right personnel.

This office, exactly as it is pictured here, costs less than you think. Make it yours.

THE PRESIDENT

Ample overhang enables comfortable conferences of from eight to ten people. Has two suspension letter file drawers with compressors, two box drawers and a center drawer. Automatic lock for all drawers. Linoleum covered steel top. Size of top 78” X 40″ No. 1744 $289.00 / Shipping weight 365 lbs.

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Vintage office furniture: Imperial modular desks

Superbly styled, spacious modular units that give your office that glow of excitement and make it an inspiring place to work. Trim and tapered, colorful and clean. Designed for executives with discriminating taste. Will increase efficiency and boost office morale. Will last a lifetime.

One full suspension letter-size drawer, two double drawers for 3×5 or 4×6 cards (7200 cap.), armrest plus a center drawer with lock and key. Colorful two-tone finish as illustrated.

Consists of three box drawers, armrest and center drawer with lock and key plus a sliding tambour door storage cabinet under lock and key. Linoleum covered desktop. Two-tone: Robin Blue and Desert Sand finish.

STANDARD COLORS — All units on both these pages are also available in single tone colors. Mist Green, Desert Sand, Cole Gray or Sahara Brown.

NEW accent COLORS — Desk drawer fronts and tambour doors for units on both these pages are available in these decorator shades at no additional charge. Frost Gray, Tangerine, Robin Blue or Sahara Brown baked enamel finish. Specify choice of color when ordering.

BURNPROOF-STAINPROOF DESK TOPS – All units on both these pages available with Coletex covered Desk Tops. Tops that cigarettes cannot burn nor can alcohol stain.

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Vintage office furniture: Desks and modular reception desks

Consists of a storage cabinet with sliding tambour doors that roll out of sight upon opening. Three box drawers with convenient armrest. Linoleum covered, aluminum trim, desktop. Angular desk top (right) Two-tone: Tangerine and Mist Green finish.

Decorator designed. Contains three box drawers, a bookcase and a sliding tambour door storage cabinet. Plus a center drawer under lock and key. Linoleum covered angular desktop. Tapered steel legs. Two-tone: Tangerine and Sahara Brown.

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Imperial desks by Cole

Superbly styled. Consists of a full suspension- letter size file drawer, two drawers for 3×5 or 4×6 cards (7200 cap.), or checks plus convenient armrest and center drawer with lock and key. Heavy steel, linoleum-covered desktop with aluminum trim.

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For the discriminating executive, consists of a storage cabinet with lock and key (tambour doors roll out of sight upon opening). Two full suspension letter size file drawers. Heavy steel, linoleum-covered top with center drawer under lock and key.

For the secretary who needs more desktop working space. Desktop contains center drawer with lock and key. Desktop (right) AV wide, 76″ high, 1914″ deep. Has three box drawers for records or personal belongings. Heavy furniture steel, linoleum-covered desktops with beautiful aluminum trim.

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Vintage office furniture: Line of modern desks from the 1950s

Space-saving desks to improve office efficiency. Styled by foremost craftsmen to meet the most discriminating taste. Letter drawers glide on full suspension cradles.

Constructed of heavy furniture steel. Beautifully covered with top grade linoleum trimmed with aluminum.

Fixed bed typewriter desks. Drawer pedestal either left (as illustrated) or right of knee space. Convenient knee space drawer with lock. Heavy steel, linoleum top with aluminum trim.

For general office use where space is at a premium. Drawer pedestal with reference slide, either right (as illus.) or left of knee space. Convenient knee space drawer with lock and key. Linoleum covered top with aluminum edge.

Olive green desks - Secretarial and junior executives - from the fifties


Vintage office furniture: The president desk

The dream of every good secretary. This smooth operating desk will really pay for itself by increasing work output. Equipped with Cole’s sound-insulated elevator platform. Designed for faster, smoother, quieter typing.

Smartly styled. Letter drawers glide smoothly and easily on full suspension cradles, can’t warp or stick. Saves valuable floor space. Heavy steel, linoleum top trimmed with aluminum. Lock on center drawer automatically locks all drawers.

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