The flat-top desk appeared in the early 17th C and the writing cabinet, ancestor to the bureau de ministre, in the mid-17th C. The early 18th C saw the arrival of the cylinder top desk which became popular during the periods Louis XV and Louis XVI. The difficulty of making a cylinder which would not warp made it expensive and thus reserved for the rich.
The cheaper slope-top desk with a flat fall-top was then developped. The Louis XV period produced the secretaire, a much saught after piece of French antique furniture. The lighter ladys' desks such as le bonheur du jour appeared towards the end of the 18th C. All these desks continued to be popular during the 19th C along with the bureau a gradin, a flat-top desk with one or two tiers of drawers on the top. In the late 19th-early 20th C the mass produced roll-top desk appeared in offices.