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In all likelihood, it was the cabinetmaker Jean-François Œben who invented the roll-top desk, to cater for the need to both store documents and conceal work from view. It represents a form of evolution from the flat-topped desk towards the secrétaire writing desk. One could now instantly conceal private papers or work in progress simply by pulling down the roll top and locking it. The work surfaces can be increased with flaps on either side and at the back, enabling four people to work at the same time.