The Ikea of Yesteryear




First example of modern modular furniture.Thank you for sending me an image of your bookcase. It is a Globe-Wernicke Elastic Bookcase, one of the first examples of "modern" modular furniture that could be ordered to suit one's office or home needs. The term "elastic" refers to the unique design of the bookcases; they could grow or shrink in height with the addition or subtraction of extra sections. The Ikea of yesteryear, Globe-Wernicke started out in Minnesota in the late 19th century and also had factories in various locations throughout Europe as well.Often these stacking bookcases would not only keep your books and prized possessions dust-free with glass door enclosures, but also would be a fashionable modern piece of furniture displayed in your office or home. As it seems with all well-designed products, the original was copied and other "improved" and less-expensive examples came on the market. Even Larkin soap products jumped in on the action, creating a similar stacking bookcase that could be purchased with coupons from soap.These bookcases were also called "barrister bookcases" as they were marketed to attorneys to protect their valuable law books. They were also pitched as portable; one could manage lifting or carrying individual sections if necessary to other offices or chambers.These bookcases were most often made of oak, but were also created in mahogany and walnut depending on the customer needs. The Globe-Wernicke Company flourished until World War II when factory production was shifted for military purposes.Your oak Globe-Wernicke Elastic Bookcase dates to the early 20th century, appears to be in excellent condition and would be valued at $750.Curious about an antique you have? Send a photo to bcoles@nhmagazine.com. If there are markings, please take a clear photo of them as well. If your submission is selected, we'll have expert Jason Hackler appraise it. Hackler, manager/owner of New Hampshire Antique Co-op in Milford (www.nhantiquecoop.com) and partner of Jason Samuel Antiques, is a past officer of the Granite State Antique and Appraisers Association, a principal of the Active Appraisal Group and a member of the N.H. Antique Dealers Association.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. New Boston's Historic Fourth of July Celebration
    New Boston, New Hampshire, loves the Fourth of July so much the whole town turns out for the...
  2. Building on Hope's 2018 Project
    Local nonprofit group Building on Hope brings new life to the Crisis Center of Central New...
  3. Best of NH 2018 This & That
    Not all of New Hampshire's best things fit neatly into categories. Here are our Editor's Picks...
  4. Walpole's New Farmer-Owned Diner
    It doesn't get much more local than this. The Hungry Diner is an extension of Walpole Valley...
  5. Best of NH 2018 Breweries, Wine, Spirits, Cocktails & Bars
    Don't just eat local, drink local! Where to find the best New Hampshire beer, wine, spirits,...
  6. Best of NH 2018 Shops & Services
    Think of this as the ultimate guide to retail therapy. Plus, get excellent recommendations for...
  7. Best of NH 2018 Delis, Butcher Shops, Catering, Cafés, Lunch and Breakfast
    Up the "wow" factor by catering with an authentic Hawaiian luau, try Italian breakfast pizza,...
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags