Having a flame mahogany veneered rectangular top above a shaped moulded cornice supported by pilaster columns with carved foliate capitals enclosing four reeded shelves. To the base there are two flame veneered mahogany oak-lined drawers retaining their original turned wooden handles and Bramah locks supplied with a working key.
Raised on a plinth base this well-proportioned open bookcase is in superb original condition retaining a wonderful colour having been wax polished using traditional methods.
Very rare to find a bookcase of this size and quality that is completely original.
Due to the excellent choice of timber and quality of build one would expect to find a makers stamp such as Gillows of Lancaster on this bookcase but very often their goods were not stamped. Another sign of quality is only the best cabinetmakers used Bramah locks as they were expensive, also at time of manufacture no one was able to pick them.
The Bramah lock is a lock design that was created by Joseph Bramah in 1784. The design is the first known high-security lock.
The locks produced by his company were famed for their resistance to lock picking and tampering, and the company famously had a “Challenge Lock” displayed in the window of their London shop from 1790, mounted on a board containing the inscription……
“The artist who can make an instrument that will pick or open this lock shall receive 200 guineas the moment it is produced.”
The Great Exhibition 1851.
The challenge stood for over 67 years until, at the Great Exhibition of 1851, the American locksmith Alfred Charles Hobbs was able to open the lock and, following some argument about the circumstances under which he had opened it, was awarded the prize. Hobbs’ attempt required about 51 hours, spread over 16 days.
The Challenge Lock is in the Science Museum in London. An examination of the lock shows that it has been rebuilt since Hobbs picked it. Originally it had 18 iron slides and 1 central spring; it now has 13 steel slides, each with its own spring.
Width: 43 1/4 inches – 110cm
Height: 61 1/2 inches – 156.5cm
Depth: 14 1/2 inches – 37cm
Top shelves 7 ½ inches 19cm
Bottom two shelves 9 ½ inches – 24cm