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Tradition and History

Broadly misunderstood, the term "cabinet" didn't stand for cupboard or dresser in the past. Cabinets were used to store important documents; other valuables and they were particularly used as escritoires, or writing desks. There were also wall cabinets, collectors' cabinets and archive cabinets, all crafted out of the best materials, with a great care to detail: some of these cabinets were real works of art.

By Michael Russell

What you probably didn't know about cabinets is that in the middle ages many were conceived to hide valuables - so they contained secret compartments, which are still really functional in various situations (to keep a weapon out of the reach of children, to hide other valuable goods in the absence of a safe, etc).

Nowadays "cabinet" stands for cupboard or sideboard, or in the political meaning of the term: "persons appointed by a head of state to head executive departments of government and act as official advisers" (but this is not the topic of this article).

Today, cabinet refers almost exclusively to kitchen cupboards. A Google search will lead to all kinds of sites selling all kinds of cupboards and rarely to manufacturers of escritoires. The modern cabinets are also large lockers with many drawers and shelves, or special cabinets to keep jewelry and tools, basically cabinets could be used to store anything: papers, books, tools, kitchen dishes, clothes, shoes, collectables, jewelry, china, etc.

Furniture stores build exclusive cabinets from various materials: luxury cabinets are made of rare woods; tools cabinets are made of steel, other metals or plastic. The only places to purchase original cabinets (those escritoires or the artistry crafted wall cabinets) are the antiquaries' shops, garage sales or the flea market.

Modern cabinets are very practical pieces of furniture. They are conceived to store anything from paper to tools, so they are sturdy and secure (especially jewelry cabinets). Some are designed to be genuine pieces of interior decorations: they match the rest of your furniture or bring a special, original note to the general décor.

If you are lucky enough to have an antique cabinet in your home (or at your grandma's, or in a long forgotten attic), don't just throw it away! With antique furniture you never know what is its real value. And since cabinets (in the original meaning and purpose) are quite rare, you might score real big with something you consider refuse. Even eBay holds rare treasures within its thousands of tenders. Sometimes it proves to be cheaper to furnish your home with old furniture (and old furniture has the propriety to give a feeling of tradition, history and culture to any interior) than to invest in new furniture (which many times it is not as sturdy and valuable as old furniture).

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So once again: take care of your old cabinets, let history in your home, preserve it and cherish it! There are objects that represent centuries of history, art movements and denote value and give a special social status to their owners; and cabinets might be some of those objects. Look at Décor and Furniture for more on purchasing a cabinet.

Date Posted: 2010-10-06
Posted By: Decor and Furniture
Listed under these Business Listing Categories: Forestry, Furniture & Wood Processing,

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