A kiaat version of the famous 20's design modern Magic Box compact office that was commercially manufactured between 1930 and 1970.
Until we found this model, we never knew that a version of the Magic Box was produced in South Africa. The fact that it is kiaat wood is a dead giveaway, since kiaat was only ever used in southern Africa on a commercial scale. We don't know who made it. The workmanship is professional, and it is veneered, which is not usually found in pieces made by hobbyist.
When the box folds open, the desk top can be pulled and folded out on two hinged leaves to reveal a proper working surface. The desk top has a wide drawer beneath it and below it is a broad shelf which can be removed to create leg space. The doors have various, removable shelves. All the horisontal filing shelves are removable.
Fold open desks first appeared in the United States in the 1900's. The first company to produce them was Wooton Desk Company from Indianapolis in 1874. The first modern version was produced by Mummenthaler and Meier, Swiss architects, in 1928, and that was also when they started being called Magic Boxes. Huisraad Modern once had one of the early Mummenthaler and Meyer desks on the floor. Several other versions appeared in the 1950's and 1960's, for instance the British Newcraft model, of which we also once sold one, and there were Magic Boxes from Taiwan, Norway, Germany, and France. And now we know that a version was also produced in South Africa! Can you believe it.
Condition: Wear consistent with age. Slight sagging in the door on the right, which you find in almost all vintage versions, and some usual slight veneer damage on a back corner and on the back edges which we filled with a bit of filler.
90 (w) x 54 (d) x 113 cm (h) when closed and 180 (w) x 31 (d) x 113 cm (h) when open