Help on identifying cabinet- please and thank you!

Discussion in 'Furniture' started by Joanne, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Joanne

    Joanne New Member

    Hi all,

    I've just joined up in the hope that someone out there can help me with what this cabinet is or may be. I have a very vague knowledge of styles and eras only.

    The guy who sold it to me thought it was his great grandma's, but wasn't sure of its original purpose. It looks like someone has converted it for use as a music cabinet - but I wondered if it was a servery.

    Any and all help greatly appreciated :)

    Attached Files:

  2. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS!!!

    Hi and WELCOME to the Forums, Joanne!!! I'm not really a huge furniture person, but others are and will be along, if not tonight, then tomorrow!! I rather like the looks of it, but you're right in that someone had repurposed it along the line!!!!!! Too bad they cut holes & gouges on the inside. Looks like they also probably refinished it too? Can't say as I've seen one just like it.....and wondering if what you have is the WHOLE item? Am tagging a couple who could definitely help MUCH more than I!!! @verybrad, @James Conrad, @evelyb30 !!!!
    Christmasjoy, Joanne and i need help like this.
  3. i need help

    i need help Well-Known Member

    C12695F9-7519-4A00-B112-74DA68F2C41B.jpeg 215BAE13-C3AD-4641-AED2-209370338850.jpeg 5D376CE8-B5A7-4EF5-BDDC-89EBC4DC4B87.jpeg 7C9290CF-D3F3-445C-8C4E-9CF4BAB529A6.jpeg Welcome to the Forum, Joanne!
    It’s easier for people to see photos if you check the first box “show Full images for all” AFTER you have uploaded them all. Time sensitive, so try it next time. :)
  4. Joanne

    Joanne New Member

    Thank you! Will do. I struggled just putting the files up as it was :)
    Christmasjoy, judy and i need help like this.
  5. Joanne

    Joanne New Member

    Hi Aquitaine,
    Thanks so much for those tags- that's awesome.
    I *think* I have the whole unit as the sides don't appear to have bits missing, but that's a novice guess.
    I'll do my best to repair the gouges, but do intend to use the cabinet for a vinyl turntable, speakers and storage- so I'll still have to find sensitive ways to hide cables and leads. More nicely!!
  6. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS!!!

    Nice way to hide modern stuff!!! Our stereo & components are neatly tucked in a lovely old corner cupboard in our living room!!!! Good luck with your project....and we love to see finished projects!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:):):):)
  7. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    Opens both front and back? Think it is a cabinet for something mechanical. Radio? Music box? ?????
  8. Joanne

    Joanne New Member

    Yes, it opens both front and back and the top lifts. To my eye all the doors- front and back- look like they were there as original. The timber all round seems to match- but I suppose that may mean absolutely nothing.

    The hinges on the top look newer, but again I *think* it would have done that originally, too and perhaps they have been replaced at some point.

    The seller thought it may have held a gramophone, but I'm not sure on that as the top section isn't big enough and there is no evidence that something could have been "wound" upwards into position.

    Inside the top looks as though it may have had a covering piece of something (leather/ velvet?) as there is a lighter square surrounded by slightly darker timber.

    It's intriguing for sure. Perfect for my use- but mysterious as to what it was.

    Oh- I don't know if this will make any difference- but I'm in Australia. It could, therefore, be upside down ;-)
    Christmasjoy, Aquitaine and judy like this.
  9. Joanne

    Joanne New Member

    Deal. How could I not with all this lovely help :)
  10. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Sorry, not a clue here.
    Christmasjoy likes this.
  11. judy

    judy Well-Known Member

    Welcome to Antiquers Joanne!
    Christmasjoy, Joanne and James Conrad like this.
  12. Nvntivs

    Nvntivs Member

    I would propose to post here some pictures of the internal construction. Not just a general overview. It's a lot more one can say if you see how for example the dovetails are shaped, how the boards ve been cut and so on. People usually only changed/refurbished the outer surface of such furniture, leaving the not so much obvious parts untouched. This usually makes it much easier to estimate the age. If just from looking to the outside- it could be everything, from something about early 1900s till 1950s
    Christmasjoy and Joanne like this.
  13. Joanne

    Joanne New Member

    Thanks Nvntivs for your helpful suggestion.

    I've attached some photos and hope you'll be back to have a look. Unfortunately the quality is quite poor- I snapped them on my phone, in the dark, in haste to go to work.

    I looked for joins and construction- but the cabinet is a bit unhelpful in that regard- there seems so little to see. On the outside a lot of the joins are obstructed by what I want to call "veneers" but I think that is wrong... I'll go with "stuck on moldings" and hope you excuse my lack of vocabulary.

    The inside is very plain, also.

    Anyway, I'll let you look at the photos, and am happy to take more if you have specific suggestions.

    At the end of the day, I'm not going to be devastated if the cabinet is of more modern construction. It still fits my purposes perfectly and wasn't at all expensive. But if we can shed some light on what it may have been made to do, that'd be nice.

    ETA: I'm so sorry. I had to resize the files to get the board to fit them and now it looks awful!

    Cabinet #5 Interior lid (small).jpg Cabinet #6 Lid Join (small).jpg Cabinet #7 Interior base corner (small).jpg Cabinet #8 Front door opening - top (small).jpg Cabinet #9 Front door- bottom (small).jpg Cabinet #10 Front door- top and decoration (small).jpg
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2018
  14. Nvntivs

    Nvntivs Member

    Hi Joanne and thank you for the pictures. Unfortunately you are right. There is not much to see... at least not for me. However, I also think it is a gramophone cabinet from 1920s-1940s which was probably completely stripped of its original interior. Here is a good example currently on eBay
    But also if you use the google search for "gramophone cabinet" you will see there is vast numbers of varieties.
    It is rather difficult to narrow the age span more exactly, since when these early music boxes became popular, they were made actually in all possible styles, resembling everything people had in their homes for the previous 30 years. Thus you find some of them looking like Art Nouveu, others like Eclecticism, others like Neo Gotic and so on. If you have a small hole on one side, then it is probably an earlier one. One of those which you had to wind-up with a handle. If not, then it was rather already electric. Regarding the question if it is big enough for a gramophone or not. There were some of them with nothing more than a moving turntable and a hand which was easy to move and hide.
    However, this is just my opinion :) I am not an expert for this kind of furniture.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
    Christmasjoy, Joanne and i need help like this.
  15. Joanne

    Joanne New Member

    Thank you so much Nvntivs! You may say you are not an expert- but that was exactly the kind of information that will help me with narrowing my focus and research. Just brilliant.

    I had actually looked at the example you posted- but my eye passed over it because I wasn't seeing the similarities. The rear door makes a great deal of sense now :)

    You've also given me some ideas for restoration- now to see if I can actually do what I'm thinking.

    Most appreciated!!
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
    Christmasjoy likes this.
  16. Nvntivs

    Nvntivs Member

    Glad if I was of any help :) Actually in order to understand what exactly was made with this piece during its lifetime you would have to check for small details. For example - as far as I see (the first pictures you posted are rather small) there seem to be some small holes in the top board, the one where a turntable would be located. This is probably an indication that there was something attached to it. At least something more than just a leather or velvet cover :)
    Joanne likes this.
  17. Joanne

    Joanne New Member

    Absolutely agree with regard to holes- unfortunately there are so many of them in various places (completely in line with your suggestion it had been re-purposed, and perhaps multiple times) that it is quite hard to figure out which ones may have been there at creation, and which have been added.

    If I assume the "neat" (1) hole is possibly original and the "less neat" (2) (I'm being polite) hole may have been the re-purposing butcher :) then I am unsure because the "neat" hole is rather off center. But then that depends on how a turntable may have been attached, obviously the spindle is centered, but that may not go all the way through. And if electric (as there are no holes in the sides) then power cables had to go somewhere.

    Oh- I suppose speaker wires had to run somewhere, too.

    Also very much agree that something was covering the top board- and very likely leather or velvet. Although the gramophone boxes I looked at often didn't.

    Cabinet #3 Holes.jpg
  18. Nvntivs

    Nvntivs Member

    Maybe my English is bad, sorry for that, but I actually meant that there was something else on the top board than leather or velvet as you assumed. Something like here:
    A sort of metal or wood plate the actual device was attached to. Here by the way an example of such a music cabinet with doors both front and rear.
    Joanne likes this.
  19. Jeff Drum

    Jeff Drum Well-Known Member

    Looks like inside shelf was added or moved, so not original. This may have originally held an early (50's) television. Size and doors would make sense. Doesn't explain why it had that piano-hinge top, however. I don't think any old vinyl turntable would fit in there, at least it looks like it is only a couple inches high. But maybe an antenna shaped like this or one that would be used with the lid open and unfold upwards:

    Or maybe the controls were in the top like this one:
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018
    Joanne, i need help and Nvntivs like this.
  20. Nvntivs

    Nvntivs Member

    You know, a good idea...But I think the piano hinge doesn't make much sense then. I don't think these early TVs used to have that many controls, that it would make sense to make so much space for them. For the antennas of those days even an open cover like we have here would be rather an interference…
    Joanne likes this.
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