Object Lesson | Larkin Tiger Oak Secretary Desk

Porch Nook's "Object Lessons" is a series of short articles sharing my vintage and antique finds over the years, containing just enough information to make you dangerous at the local flea market*. Happy hunting!

20th Century - value as of 3/12/23, $600-$1200*. I am always on the lookout for unique pieces that tell a story and add character to any home. When I stumbled upon this antique** Larkin Tiger Oak Secretary Desk at an estate sale in Maryland, I knew I had found something truly special. The Larkin Company's history is fascinating, and it's incredible to think that this desk was produced by one of the most prosperous manufacturers in the United States in the early 1900s.

The Larkin Company was founded by John D. Larkin in 1875, with a focus on producing soap. But the company quickly expanded its production capabilities and became one of the most prosperous manufacturers in the country. The Larkin Company was known for its innovative marketing techniques and progressive policies towards workers, making it a popular brand among consumers.


Known for using Tiger oak for furniture manufacturing, the Larkin Company was able to mass produce durable pieces that had a one-of-a-kind appearance due to the wood’s irregular grain pattern.  The desk's Tiger Oak finish is breathtaking, with its striking grain patterns and rich color adding warmth and depth to any room.

The drop-front desktop is a standout feature, providing a spacious writing surface that invites creativity and productivity. The cabriole legs add a touch of elegance to the desk's design, and the drawer below provides ample space for storing essential supplies. The small compartments and drawer behind the drop-down front are a delightful surprise, offering a convenient way to organize odds and ends and keep them within easy reach.

While some secretary desks may be found with a mirror attached to the top, the Larkin Tiger Oak Secretary Desk was not originally intended to be a vanity or dressing table.

As a lover of all things old, I am thrilled to add this antique** piece to my furniture collection. It's a stunning piece that showcases the Larkin Company's legacy of quality and innovation, and I know it will be cherished by its new owner for years to come. It is my hope someday one will cross your path so you, too, can enjoy its history and tradition.


*For the sake of transparency, Porch Nook in not an antiquities dealer, nor do I specialize in antiques. However, for many years I've gained experience acquiring and selling old stuff and hung around a lot of people who also like to acquire and sell old stuff. I gotta’ tell'ya, they're my kind of people...smart, creative, not shy and will tell you what's what. 

**The term "ANTIQUE" should be reserved only for items greater than 100 years old. Outside of the practice of buying and selling items, however, use of the word "ANTIQUE" can be understood to attach no specific age to an item. Some collectors hold to an 80-year marker. The 80-year marker considers the heritage of the item in that it reflects the span of two generations, with one generation traditionally considered to be the length of 40 years.  Click here to learn more about the differences between "ANTIQUE" and "VINTAGE".

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