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The Wooden Laboratory Worksheet Cabinets

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This Page Corrected on November 24, 2015
Hello there! My name's Harold, the humble host of Leather Oaks, which is both my home and my lifestyle. I'm not sure how many decades ago I discovered the pleasures and comfort of wearing leather, but I can say heartily that the feelings only grow!

The Comer Hall Cabinets! ! !

Way, way back, perhaps in the Depression, the Zoology-Entomology Department at what was then the Alabama Polytechnic Institute had the need for some cabinets to store laboratory work sheets. Typically, the sheets would have an outline say for the anatomy of a frog, and students used that background to record their own observations.

Well, times were tough back then, and while there was no money to buy commercial cabinets, the School had a great carpentry department, and access to lots of Southern Pine, so they made their own. They chose a sectional design with four drawers across by seven high. Each drawer would hold perhaps 150 to 200 sheets. The folks went one better though, and built simple but effective top and bottom sections.

Flash forward several decades, and I was a teenager helping my father in the same department, in old Comer Hall. I remember the first time I saw this room full of those old cabinets, I was most taken with them. They were stacked at least three sections high, and there must have been perhaps four, maybe five such stacks! It was great to smell the old wood and paper as my dad selected the sheets he'd need for the next lecture.

Later, Daddy told me that the now Auburn University was getting out of the lab sheet business, and having students buy workbooks. I asked him what would happen to the old cabinets, and he said he guessed they'd go to the dump.

Well, that was depressing news indeed. Since even then, I was quite a collector (electronics, arts and crafts hobby material as opposed to rubber and leather), I figured I could fill any number of those sets of drawers we could get. I begged Dad to ask the department head to let me have some of them, who surprisingly agreed. We eventually got four sets of drawers, but only one set of tops and bottoms. I guess the others are sawdust history.

With one set that I use for leather crafting supplies, I fabricated a table counter top and built a base from two by eight lumber. The second set in the Rubber Room of my garage houses what few latex items I still have. The remaining two sets, with the original top and bottom form this unique piece of furniture in my craft room!

Since the whole thing stands almost six feet high, plus the old ship model on the top, the photo is smaller than some might prefer. There is a link to the larger-sized version!

Laboratory Worksheet Drawers


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