On Sunday, my sister and I woke up early and drove from Chicago to the middle of Indiana on the quest to pick up my Library Card Catalog!
It was raining most of the way there, but other than that and a mild hangover from the night before we were in good spirits. My GPS didn't fail us and we got there about 30 minutes sooner than google maps had predicted (even after stopping for breakfast, gas and of course Combos along the way), so everything was going pretty smoothly.
The man who was selling me the cabinet owned one of those concrete lawn ornaments places, which sat across the street from the volunteer fire department and down the street from the tiniest little post office you've ever seen. (I did forget my camera so I only had my iPhone to document the experience.)
When we pulled in he had a garage full of antique goodies, but right in front was my card catalog. Yay! But just then, disaster almost struck. The original item description clearly stated that the width of the piece was 42" and I carefully measured that our SUV would fit that with maybe an inch to spare. When I got there he told me that instead it was at least 43 inches and wasn't sure it would fit!!
At this point, I thought my sister was going to kill me, but I was NOT about to leave Indiana empty-handed! He realized that for the posting he had measured the width of the body but not the top and the trim which added at least another inch to it. So we thought fast and the nice man grabbed some tools and gently removed both the top and the trim for me so that it fit without a centimeter to spare on the sides.
Talk about a PERFECT, nearly disastrous fit. But it fit. And it was now all mine.
Fast forward four hours and after just one unexpected detour through Gary, Indiana due to a road closure (where were you then, GPS??) we were home. Home is where my lovely husband and I had the fun task of unloading this 400 lb mammoth. We started by taking out ALL 60 drawers so that it was light enough for two to carry and then we carried it up piece by piece.
Once we reassembled it, all I had to do is grab our drill and screw the top back on and then use some wood glue to reattach the trim. We also had to remove 2 of our 3 floating shelves to make this fit. We will probably removed the third one eventually, but that would require some repainting so its staying for now.
I also quickly styled it with my vintage typewriter bag and an owl candle to highlight the pull-out trays, but that could change soon...
It still could use a thorough vacuuming on the inside with a shop vac, but our vacuum cleaner just broke last week. There were a few cob webs and bits n' pieces of lint and paper from libraries past, but otherwise it looks great. Dave thought it smelled "old", but I took some lemon-scented Pledge to it and that did the trick.
A few Fun Facts:
- This Card Catalog was used in the library at Indiana University. Pretty cool to know its origin!
- Its tag reads, Remington Rand Library Bureau Division, which from what I can tell means it was made sometime between 1927 and 1976. I guess that means it's somewhere between an antique and just being "retro".
- It has 60 drawers and is made of oak. One drawer was missing but the seller gave me an extra drawer (on top of cabinet in photos above) that he had acquired and all I have to eventually do is sand it down a bit to fit.
- Many of the handles are slightly different shapes & sizes (see above), but they are all the same brass finish so I like that it has some charm in that respect.
- I also thought I might sand it down and refinish it, but at this point I also like the more naturally distressed look of the different shades of medium to dark finish.
So what's next? Filling it up of course! In order to pass the time on our road trip, my sister and I started to compile an alphabetical list of household items that I could put in the drawers so we have a nice head start. Stay tuned for my list & labeling post in the near-future!