I totally love this—check out this freestanding print storage and display case. It's shown in a catalog of the Milwaukee Photo Materials Company from roughly a century ago. It has four leaves or boards for print display that turn like the pages of a book, more space for display on the back, and drawers for proofs and loose prints.
Awesome! I'd buy one of these for $45. Kudos to the late Mr. T. R. Bowring of De Pere, Wisconsin.
Okay, I guess $45 was a little bit more back then.
(Thanks to James Erlandson (a.k.a. Speed))
UPDATE: I did some quick digging about T.R. Bowring. Turns out Thomas R. Bowring was a professional and portrait photographer in De Pere (now a suburb of Green Bay) who lived from 1878 to 1947. His father, Thomas D. Bowring (1844–1897, buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Brown County) was also a photographer. You can see some of Thomas D.'s work online at the Wisconsin Historical Society, and these two pictures for sale on eBay might be the work of father and son:
The picture on the left, obviously by the Bowring studio, is c. 1890, when Thomas D. would have been 46 and his son Thomas R. 12; assuming the right-hand picture taken twenty years later was also taken by the Bowrings (a fact not in evidence!), then it would have been taken by Thomas R., who was 32 by that time, because his father had passed away. (eBay item number 400304384080.)
And finally, via the De Pere Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 19, is our photographer and cabinet designer himself:
It's pure conjecture on my part, but I'll bet he designed his print display case for his own business, and then took it to market thinking he had a winner on his hands. —MJ
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(To see all the comments, click on the post title and scroll down)
From Ed: "According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Inflation Calculator, $45 'roughly a century ago' (1913) is $1047.18 today (2012)."
Mike replies: That still seems a little cheap for that complex and apparently well-built piece of furniture, doesn't it? I don't know, maybe it was made in China.
From wtlloyd: "I'm a cabinetmaker in Southern California. $45 today will buy you one of the large bottom drawer boxes from my suppliers. Not the drawer front or cup pull or slide hardware, just the inner box."