A Piece of History

December 07, 2007

Lampe Desk
Lampe Desk

The desk Dr. H. Troy Nagle inherited from the retiring Dr. Jimmie Wortman was more than just a piece of government-issued furniture.  It was the desk used by Dr. J. Harold Lampe, who was Dean of Engineering at NC State for 17 years - longer than anyone else.


Nagle used the desk and its accompanying conference table for a while, but when his office was moved from Daniels Hall a few years ago, his new space was too small for the furniture.  Nagle spoke to Dr. Eddie Grant about the pieces, and it was suggested that Grant's wife, Maureen, a skilled, self-taught wood refinisher and artisan, could refurbish the pieces, which needed some serious attention.


"It was a challenge," Maureen Grant said with a laugh. "Of course, Ed got me into the challenge."


Maureen and Eddie Grant
Maureen and Eddie Grant

So Maureen got to work.  When she stripped the surfaces and found that the pieces were composed of different types of wood, she applied different stains to create a uniform color.  Then there was the waxing - several coats for each piece.  The whole piece took about three or four weeks of work, she said.


"It looks like a totally different piece of furniture," Eddie Grant said. "And I would say it looks classier now than it did originally."


No one knows exactly how old the desk is, though Eddie Grant guesses it was probably built shortly after World War II.  More important is the story: A desk returns to the family of the man who once worked at it.


"I think it is going to a great home with the Lampe family," Nagle said. "Jimmie and I treated it with great respect!"


And it looks even better than ever.