The Drop Lid in Desks
Desk lids may be considered as doors hung by the bottom rail, but they seldom open wider than an angle approximately 90 degrees, and the method of hinging is dependent on the way the lid is supported.
When ordinary butts are used it is necessary to have slides that pull out beneath the lid for it to rest on, or else metal elbow-pieces, chains, or quadrants are fastened above. Otherwise the weight of a person's arms on the lid when it is down will break the hinges.
Illustration No. 7, in the diagram., represents a section of a lid hung in this way; and No. 8 is a method without slides or quadrants that may be used for lids of cabinets where no great weight is to come on them and butts are used. Here the hinge is not directly on the edge of the lid, but is set a little beyond it, the lid and hanging stile having been cut on a bevel to permit the lid swinging down to the horizontal. A portion of the case (X) just below the lid is also arranged so the lid when down will rest on it.
The strongest lid hinge is the pivot No. 9. The lid when down presses against Y and Z, and the hinge itself is constructed so as to take part of the strain.
It is practically the same as the pin hinge described in cabinet door hinges. The part serving as a socket for the pin is, however, shaped somewhat like a rectangle with a small projecting square on one side near one corner. The other corner of the side from which this square projects is rounded off as a quadrant with the socket for a center. The pin bar is also extended sufficiently to receive a second pin located so that it just clears the edge of the quadrant, when the two parts of the hinge are placed together, and will strike against the projecting piece of the socket plate.
If now the socket plate is properly fastened to the side of the cabinet the parts of the hinge are in the position shown in the illustration, when the lid is turned down. The second pin of the bar strikes against the projection on the socket plate, and acts as a stop. This brings the greater strain on the metal of the hinge itself. The location of the pivot on the edge of the stiles is such that the screws are not pulled out if an extra strain is put on them. As in every drop lid, there is more or less leverage there will be some spring when weight is applied to it. It is, therefore, advisable to use aids for support; either quadrants or braces.
The lid for small compartments of desks, or the desk lid itself may be hung so as to raise and then slide back out of the way. A section of a lid of this kind is given in No. 10. The clotted line shows the position of the lid raised and ready to be pushed back into the pocket. When the lid is down the upper edge strikes against the back of a moulding so as to hide entirely the pocket into which it slides when raised. The hinge is on the lower edge of a rebate cut in the lid. This rebate matches a similar one cut in a strip fitted so as to slide easily in the pocket, yet provided with stops to prevent its being pulled out. When the lid is raised this guide and the lid halve together so as to become practically one piece.
The cylinder top desk is made so the lid will slide back into a pocket, the edges of the lid moving in grooves cut in the sides of the desk. When the desk is small a lid working in this way does not slide back sufficiently to expose a convenient writing surface. The difficulty is overcome by making the writing surface so it may be pulled out about two-thirds the depth of the desk, and the pigeon holes with the inkstand, etc., may be placed immediately above at the back of the desk. This arrangement makes quite a roomy writing table of one that would otherwise be small. It is convenient to construct such desks so one operation will pull out the slide, and open the lid instead of requiring each movement to take place separately.
There are many ways of doing this and the one illustrated (No. 11) is by Sheraton. A metal bar is pivoted to the edge of the lid near the back, and it is similarly attached to the slide. This bar has a slot cut at the lower end in which the pivot on the slide may move, and another slot near the middle in which moves a pivoted guide attached to the side of the desk. This latter pivot is the central point about which turns the bar connecting the slide and lid, so when either is moved the other moves also. There are two of these connecting bars one at each end of the desk.
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