McDowell & Craig, Art Metal, Steelcase and General Fireproofing, the Tanker desk was most often produced with one file drawer, 4 box drawers and a pencil drawer.
Because of the materials and craftsmanship required to assemble these beauties, manufacturing a Tanker desk on a mass scale is nearly impossible today. Luckily, there are a variety of businesses like Twenty Gauge, Retro Office, and Rehab Vintage devoted to restoring these classic pieces, and they’ll even allow you to customize in a variety of ways. Options include choosing from a wide array of enamel finishes, selecting a Formica or glass top, drawer locks and even locking casters for the feet. The finished product is flawless, but comes with a price tag of around $1,500-$2,000.
For the fearless DIY-er, resources like Retro Peacock are available to walk you through the process of restoring a Tanker desk on your own. A helpful tip they give in acquiring a Tanker original on-the-cheap (besides Craigslist) is to contact local elementary schools and universities. Often times these places will have a swap shop, or will simply be looking for someone to come haul away the “clunky old teacher’s desk.” The process of restoring any piece of steel furniture can be lengthy, but as proven by Jeremy Tanker_desk’s Flickr adventures, it is possible to tackle and tame the tenacious Tanker:
Images: 1. foundphotoslj licensed under Creative Commons, 2. Sultana at 1stdibs.com, 3. Retro Office, 4. Rehab Vintage, 5&6. Flickr user tanker_desk, used with permission