A Laptop in the Victorian Age.


Do you ever wonder if the people in the Victorian times owned a laptop and if they did, what would it have looked like?  I’m here to ease your curiosity, although of course, they didn’t have a computer like what we have today.  What they had instead,  was what they called a “writing slope”.  And this is what it looks like:


What is a writing slope?

Can you imagine how difficult it would shave been if you were a writer, or let’s just say someone who liked to correspond or scribble down notes so much and travelled around.  How would you be able to bring all your writing paraphernalia like paper, quills, inks, sealing-wax, postage and what-not.  It must have also been difficult if you suddenly had that urge to write something down during the journey itself and no table was available for you to rest all your writing gear on without worrying about tipping over your ink all over the place?

A writing slope is really a box that opens-up into a little mini-desk, complete with little compartments to make sure all your writing gear are in place.


It opens up and has a writing-pad you can rest your paper on/journal to make it easy for you to scribble down on your notebook or send and reply to snail mail.


You could keep all your paper, parchment, underneath the writing pad.


And put all your writing gear neatly in the allocated compartments.


It’s even as big as my Mac!

I guess I’m lucky to have a husband who knows the kind of thing that would make me happy.  Yes, I do have my very own Victorian writing slope, even older than Dobbin.  (Little T’s Victorian rocking horse which has been in my husband’s family for ages!) He found this in an antique shop in Topsham Exeter.  There were two of them.  While the other one still had its key, he chose this one which was in better shape.


My historian husband thinks it was probably made somewhere between 1860-1880.  At the moment though, there’s really nothing in it yet, except my journal.


I plan to keep a few of my favourite postcards in it, and of course, envelopes and other writing-paraphernalia.  Now if only I had beautiful hand-writing like this one:


It would complete the whole ambience.  Sadly, I have really bad hand-writing.  Btw, that was a letter sent to my husband by one of his “mature” students.  He said that this gentleman showed up in his class wearing a tweed suit and a wool tie and is actually a retired high-court judge.

Anyway, going back to my writing slope I can’t help but wonder about the previous owners, especially the one who owned it first.  How many owners did it ever have before it was discarded and deemed pointless?  I guess people didn’t find much need for it after the invention of the ballpoint pen which was first patented in 1880, but it only became available to common folks in the end of World War 2.

Do you know anything about writing-slopes?

Do share.

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Have a lovely week!


  1. What an interesting object and a great piece of history. It would be almost perfect to rest your laptop on at a table to give the keyboard a bit of an angle as well! I’m sure the previous owners were very interesting people. Popping in from What’s The Story.

  2. Sorry, my computer decided to spazz out on me! What a beautiful antique! I have several antique pieces that I love, but not a writing slope! Mom and dad have managed two booths at a local antique mall for a couple of years now, so I’ve been fortunate to be able to see a lot of great pieces!

    • It certainly is! Would love to own a few more pieces 🙂 I bet your parents will know a lot about writing slopes 😉

  3. Erica Price

    I’ve always wanted a writing slope. I have a thing about old boxes and small wooden antiques generally. Trying to find a use for my old wooden shop till at the minute.

  4. That is awesome, and I would, from now on, refuse to write anything on my Mac without it perched upon my writing slope. Writing on that thing is way cooler than the way I do it… All lazy… in my recliner…
    That thing is so cool. Come to think of it, I’d never use it.
    But I like the idea of it, and you should.

  5. I wrote this long comment and then suddenly its gone. Now trying to write it back =P

    This really looks nice! I can already imagine the wood scent and the smoothness of the patina!

    I cant live without my journal. I cant do tablet and ipads when I am writing ideas and real emotions.


    • So true. Same here, I still use my journals, I don’t think I ever will stop writing in my journal either 🙂 Hope all is well.

  6. That’s so interesting and what a lovely thing to have. I have never heard of writing slopes before but think if I’d been around then, I would definitely have wanted one!

  7. I used to have one of these but I have no idea what happened to it. It was old and in poor condition but I loved it. There is something so special about the written word, especially if the writer has god writing which sadly I do not.

    • Oh no, I wonder what happened to it? This one is in good condition. I’m hoping that my daughter will inherit my love for books and anything that’s writing-related. When I’m gone, I’m hoping she’ll treasure this as much as I am loving it already.

  8. I don’t know anything about writing slopes except that it’s gorgeous and just asking to be filled up with bits and bobs again – lucky you 🙂

  9. My husband is always getting me new ‘docking stations’ or computer feet to put my laptop at a better angle for me to write. Now I know what ‘I’ want.

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