THE CHAUTAUQUA DESK
Digger Odell Publications ©2008
The 1892 Larkin Soap Company advertising campaign announced its biggest give-away yet. With a cash capital of $500,000, the full page ads were run across the country in magazines and papers which ladies might read. The Chautauqua Ladies' Desk is not only beautiful but convenient, affording a safe place for keeping correspondence, pen, ink and writing material out of baby's reach, but room also for not a few choice books which are in constant demand in the home. The Chautauqua Piano Lamp won much fame for this liberal Company, but we are mistaken in our calculations if the Chautauqua Ladies' Desk does not eclipse the Lamp's fame and surpass it in number ordered. April 1892
The "CHAUTAUQUA" DESK is "a thing of beauty" and a "joy forever to all who possess one. It is artistically designed, complete in appointments, a model piece of furniture, and affords what nine out of ten homes lack-a suitable and convenient place for writing letters, studying, drawing, etc., etc., which will be used and appreciated by every member of the family. It is made of SOLID OAK, varnished and hand-rubbed finish, with brass trimmings. It stands five (5) feet high, is two and a half (a 4) feet wide and ten and a half (to%) inches deep. It is a perfect and complete desk, and also has three roomy book shelves, a top shelf for bric-a-bra c, seven pigeon-holes for papers, compartments for letter paper, ink, etc. When placed in your home, filled with books which you prize, and ornamented with the gifts of friends, it will become a centre of attraction, and you will be grateful to us for adding anew pleasure to your life. If your library is already supplied with a desk, we suggest placing this in your guest chamber w ere this convenience will be greatly appreciated.
This desk, or the piano lamp which was also pictured in the ads was offered to the public for the purchase of the 'Combination Box'. described as follows:
OUR COMBINATION BOX contains a large supply of the best Soaps and finest Toilet Articles made, and will give satisfaction to the most fastidious person. We have been manufacturing Soaps for over 15 years, and operate one of the largest and best equipped plants in this country, having a capacity of ten million pounds a year.
Purchasers could have both the desk and the Combination Box for only ten dollars. John D. Larkin claimed that the cost of the desk alone, from a furniture dealer would be ten dollars, so that basically the customer was getting the desk for free.