Octagonal hardware cabinet made by American Bolt & Screw Case Co. of Dayton (photo courtesy of Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers)
Ohio Life

Ohio Finds: Octagonal Hardware Cabinet

The American Bolt & Screw Case Co. of Dayton made these wooden organizational cabinets for stores across the nation.

Metal screws were used as early as the 15th century in Europe, but their production was a laborious process. Blacksmiths would forge nails workers would have to file by hand, making a slot in the head and creating the threads.

New machinery and manufacturing techniques in the 19th century meant fasteners could be mass produced quickly. Hardware stores at the turn of the century were tasked with stocking large quantities of metal fittings in an assortment of types and sizes. The American Bolt & Screw Case Co. of Dayton made wooden organizational cabinets that were sold nationwide, but one design radically changed how bolts and screws were accessed.

Patented May 12, 1903, by George W. Chaffin, the octagonal cabinet featured wedge-shaped drawers on each of its faces and rotated around a central axis. Each drawer was stenciled with numbers, corresponding with the measurements of the screws, bolts and nuts therein. Many cabinets featured decorative elements that belied the mundane nature of the items they held. 

Sold at Auction: $2,375

Richard Jeffers is the owner of Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers in Columbus. garths.com