The late seventeenth century saw the emergence of new types of furniture, many created by André-Charles Boulle. Boulle most likely invented the bureau plat (flat writing table), as it is known today. Previously, writing tables had been supported by eight legs and had several drawers on each side (see, for example, 1918.5.101). But around 1710, Boulle simplified the design by eliminating the drawers and reducing the number of legs to four. He also gave an elegant curve to the once-straight legs.
Source: Vignon, Charlotte. The Frick Collection Decorative Arts Handbook. New York: The Frick Collection/Scala, 2015.