Or at least his cabinets do.

This is another case of finding three related things that I had never observed before in a short period of time. They were probably out there but I didn’t notice them. And I usually check out labels. No, my ego tells me I never saw one before.

First one I found was at an interesting antiques shop in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana:

A forty drawer, revolving, octagonal cabinet.

A forty drawer, revolving, octagonal cabinet.

With different depth drawers.

With different depth drawers.

Drawers on opposing sides are half the depth of the cabinet meeting in the center. Drawers on the perpendicular sides depth is limited by the longer drawers.

And a maker’s brass plate:

Only upside down. Looks like is always been upside down.

Only upside down. Looks like is always been upside down.

The plate reads:

A. R. BROWN
ERWIN, TENN.
PATENTED MAY 7, 1901

Five days and 60 miles east I found this one at the “mercantile” building at the Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge:

An eighty drawer cabinet.

An eighty drawer cabinet.

Same design concept:

Different length drawers but twice as many.

Same drawer design but twice as many.

This manufacturer’s plate is on right-side up:

You can read this one.

You can read this one.

Then back home, sixteen days later and 884 miles north-east at the summer Country Store Auction, there was this behemoth:

Now 112 drawers.

Now 112 drawers.

Squaring the octagonal allow another four columns of drawers to be added. Drawers are of different sizes on all four sides. Click here for an eBay listing of a similar cabinet with more pictures.

Same drawer arrangements.

Same drawer arrangements.

With a slightly different plate:

Same text, squared off shape.

Same text, squared off shape with decorations.

A. R. (Albert Rosencrans) Brown was an interesting character, entrepreneur and civic leader. Brown was born in Knox County, Tennessee in 1863 and was orphaned in 1865. In 1894, he arrived in Erwin, Tennessee, where he opened a hardware and mercantile store, A. R. Brown and Company. He organized and was president of the First National Bank of Erwin; served as president of Unicoi Bank and Trust Company, Erwin Water Company, Erwin Manufacturing Company, Erwin Cemetery Company, Erwin Inn Corporation and Unaka Academy; served as secretary-treasurer of the Erwin Development Company; served as vice-president of Unicoi Telephone Company. He died in a traffic accident  in 1937.

Below is a page from The Iron Age (1900) that has a description of Brown’s Perfection Bolt Case with a top view of the internals of one of their cabinets:

From a Google Books scan.

From a Google Books scan.