Composing desk/table

I am trying to find out when this composing station was made?
I have never seen one this size with full drawers on doth sides.
It is a Hamilton, but I can not find out the years this style/size was made.
The kind of shop it would have been in?
What the actual stone is.
The stone size is3” x 4.5”
and the best way to refurbish the cracked varnish?
Or should I just leave it alone?

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Hello, try pulling out the drawers and cases, most likely you will find a rubber stamp date on the bottoms. I have one very much like yours including the stone top THE DATES ON MY CASES ARE JUNE AND JULY OF 1929.. The rubber stamped dates may be faded so look closely. Carl

That is an imposing station. Often called the stone. It may be that some smaller type cases were under it and that some composing was done there at the stone. The main purpose was to lay out the type and chases and lock up the forms. The stone is most likely marble. With most of them, both sides were finished. When one side was beat up and worm, it could be turned. A delicate task as marble will break if you shout at it.
You could make a parlour furniture piece restoration of the woodwork, but why?
It has some character now. It is either shellacked or varnished. If you want to clean it up a bit, try some dishwasher soap or Murphys Oil Soap to get the surface dirt off. Rinse with a damp cloth and allow to dry. Alcohol is the thinning and removal agent for shellac. Try a little and some light steel wool. If the alcohol does not soften the finish, it is not shellac. If varnish, try some turpentine and light steel wool. Your objective is not to remove all the finish, but to even it.

Weren’t those used in schools? I think each student had his own little drawer for incidentals.

The stone is most likely of marble or granite. I don’t think I have ever seen one in pristine/unscratched/gouged condition. I used to think that this was simply because of their age. Many years ago I acquired a book titled “Newspapering in the Old West” or something like that and it contained hundreds of wonderful photos of old print shops. In every picture that showed a stone, the stones looked like they had been beaten to death!!!!!

Perhaps this is why the “stone” tops were eventually phased out and replaced with thick steel tops (even though the name “stone” was retained).


Thank you all for your insight and comments.

Carl-I will look for the date on the drawer botttoms.

Inky-I have thought about turning the stone because the underside is absoutely flawless. I may try to even out the varnish/schellack before I do that or the NEW stone will look out-of-place on an antique cabinet.

Kevin-You may be right. the drawers are perfect for a school setting.

Rick-thanks for your comments. If and when I turn this one.. Carefully ( I won’t raise my voice Inky) I will post another picture so you can see one in pristine condition. Thanks all.

You should have seen m this in my miniVan when I moved it.
Jd, from MPLS

m stone is like yours. I was able to get it really nice and clean with some ajax/scouring powder and a green pad with a light touch.circular motion.

I had my stone in the driveway so I was able to lather it up and hose it down.

Once I got it clean I bought some marble/granite sealer from Home Depot and put on a few coats.

To move it I had a friend help me get one end on the ground and onto a hand truck.. then I strapped it to the hand truck. I was able to move it myself with a LOT of effort to clean it but it took three of us to get it into the basement and onto the table.

To get it into the basement I wrapped the edges with old carpet (good side out and strapped it with ratchet straps. We were able to slide it across the floor and down the stairs on it’s edge making moving MUCH easier.

The other side of mine was unfinished with the original grease pencil markings on it from the manufacturer.