Thursday, October 8, 2020

Filing Cabinets

 by Shanna Hatfield

I have a large filing cabinet in my office that I use on a daily basis. I never gave much thought to it, other than the convenience it provides, until I was writing about a woman who runs a business in the 1880s and wondered what sort of filing system she might use. 

The need for a place to store documents has been around as long as documents have existed. 

It wasn't until the early part of the 1800s that something similar to today's filing cabinets came into existence. They were crafted from wood, quite often oak, and cabinet makers sometimes added a layer of insulation, often sawdust, inside the cabinets to make them "fireproof."

In 1868, Cameron Amberg & Co., was established. They produced their first cabinet letter files in 1875. They used metal in some of the drawers of their productions and have a patent date that goes back to 1878. By 1893, the name of the  company changed to Amberg Letter & File Co. Specifically, the company produced cabinets to hold letter files. 

This double letter cabinet is what I envision the heroine in my story using for her matchmaking business that involved an abundance of correspondence. 

During the 19th century, documents were often folded twice before being stored on edge with the flat part of the paper parallel to the fronts of the drawers. Document filing cabinets with narrow vertical drawers were quite popular with railroads, attorneys, and other business professionals.

There is some disagreement as to the true inventor of today's modern filing cabinet is, Edwin Grenville Seibels, or a Dr. Rosenenau. 

Edwin Seibels'  family owned an insurance firm in Columbia, South Carolina. He worked there as a teen. His family also owned a cotton plantation where he learned the cotton crop business as a child. He went on to hold a seat  in the South Carolina house of Representatives in 1909.

With his hands in cotton exports, insurance, and politics, he wanted to be an inventor. 

According to some sources, his interest in inventions drew him to design a revolutionary concept for organizing vertical files that became the filing cabinet we know today. 

The Globe Wernicke Company, known for stackable office bookcases, made the vertical cabinets and began selling them in the 1890s. One of the original filing boxes has been on display in the Smithsonian institute since the 1940s. 

To find out more about my heroine had her business, check out Grass Valley Brides.

Order your copy today!

What’s a matchmaker to do when the husband-to-be rejects the bride? 

Again . . .

Widowed as a young wife, Cara Cargill turned her head for business and love of romance into a successful mail-order bride enterprise. She’s never had a problem matching couples until one mule-headed man continues to refuse to wed the women she sends to meet him in Grass Valley, Oregon. In an effort to make a match he’ll keep and uphold her sterling reputation, Cara is desperate to find the perfect bride.

USA Today bestselling author Shanna Hatfield is a farm girl who loves to write. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances are filled with sarcasm, humor, hope, and hunky heroes. When Shanna isn’t dreaming up unforgettable characters, twisting plots, or covertly seeking dark, decadent chocolate, she hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.


Just for today, you can download Tad's Treasure free on Amazon! 

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