Filing cabinets are one of the most used pieces of equipment in the home and office today. When you begin to shop for these cabinets there are some things you should know. They often come in pieces packaged with the hardware necessary to put them together. These kinds of storage cabinets are often made of metal and come in few colors such as black and white. Some of these cabinets are also made of wood, especially those antique cabinets that were used for everything, even as an armory.
Antique cabinets are often vastly different from the ones we know today. The oldest filing methods include the use of pigeonholes where the folded piece of paper would be inserted in the proper area, and then when the file was needed, a very inefficient process of opening each envelope resulted. Later the letter filing cabinets were designed so that the letters would be folded twice and then placed in the drawer, much like the pigeonhole system, but with the addition of a drawer system to allow easier access to the stored materials. The closest equivalent that you may remember would be a card catalog at the library. With the onset of the computer age they have fallen out of use, but as few as fifteen years ago they could be found at most local libraries. These card catalog holders are similar in design to the antique filing cabinets.
Filing cabinets, as they are known today, were developed in 1898 by Edwin G. Seibels. He designed and had produced the first vertical filing cabinet. The development of this cabinet has changed the way businesses operate and revolutionized filing.
Antique filing cabinets are usually made of wood, with the first reference to a steel cabinet not being made until 1906. In order for a cabinet to be considered an antique it must have been manufactured prior to 1912, which severely limits the number of usable antique cabinets available.
Due to the limited number of true antique cabinets for modern use, reproductions have become quite popular. An antique cabinet combines function and form by creating a piece of furniture that is beautiful as well as useful. The all wood construction combined with graceful lines and beautiful hardware come together to create a piece of furniture that is a lovely addition to any office.
Reproductions of antique cabinets are every bit as lovely as the originals; however, they combine the beauty of the original with the functionality of the modern cabinet. These “antique” models include wood construction and hand distressing to create and aged patina along with steel rails to allow for maximum storage. Reproductions of antique filing cabinets are available in all modern styles including lateral files, which though developed earlier than the vertical, did not become common until the 1950’s. Vertical antique cabinets are still used today, and the pigeonhole letter cabinets are still used as mailboxes in a modern office. The durability of their construction combined with its usability is what makes this type of cabinet an important part in running a modern business.