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Extravagant furniture with secret panels, doors, and drawers

If you’ve ever wanted a cabinet with secret compartments — and we’re talking about a lot of secret compartments here — then you’re going to like videos from the Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens exhibit that was at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013).

One of the finest achievements of European furniture making, this cabinet is the most important product from Abraham (1711—1793) and David Roentgen‘s (1743—1807) workshop. A writing cabinet crowned with a chiming clock, it features finely designed marquetry panels and elaborate mechanisms that allow for doors and drawers to be opened automatically at the touch of a button. Owned by King Frederick William II, the Berlin cabinet is uniquely remarkable for its ornate decoration, mechanical complexity, and sheer size.

In addition to the Secretary Cabinet above, there’s also a writing desk, and a rolltop desk to explore:

Next: How do locks work?

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