This masterpiece Biedermeier desk from 1840 contains 105 hidden drawers
April 6, 2021 | 3:25 pm CDT
Biedermeier secretary

Austrian carpenter Vinzenz Hefele built this Biedermeier secretary in 1840 as his masterpiece - something Germanic tradespeople must build to in order to attain guild membership. The purpose of the piece was to demonstrate Hefele's exceptional craftsmanship.

With more than 100 drawers - most of which are hidden and accessed via intricate, yet simple mechanisms - Hefele's secretary certainly does the trick. 

Biedermeier secretary

The desk took more than a year-and-a-half to build. It's made of walnut and measures five feet tall and three-and-a-half feet wide.

Watch Johannes Ranacher, a conservator at Austria's Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), reveal the desk's secrets in the video below.

If you're interested in learning more about what it takes to become a master craftsperson in Germany, and more about what qualifies as a 'masterpiece', check out this excellent article from Core77:…

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at