The History Of Cabinets Timeline

Since man’s earliest days in caves he’s searched for a way to store valuable things. So evolved all manner of storage jars and cabinets over time.

A cabinet is usually a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors or drawers for storing miscellaneous items. Some cabinets stand alone while others are built into a wall or are attached to it like a medicine cabinet. Cabinets are typically made of wood or, now increasingly, of synthetic materials. Cabinet

Cabinet making is the practice of using various woodworking skills to create cabinets, shelving and furniture. Cabinet Making

Cabinet making involves techniques such as creating appropriate joints, dados, bevels, chamfers and shelving systems, the use of finishing tools such as routers to create decorative edgings, and so on. Cabinet Making

~50,000 B.C. to ~10,000 B.C.:

Cavemen store tools and hunting spears in crevices in their caves. Fire wood is gathered and kept in the cave so it’s out of the rain and available for use later.

~3150 B.C.:

Food storage containers are widespread in use throughout the world and have probably been in use since the first human civilizations. Food Storage Container

In early civilizations cereal grains such as maize, wheat, barley etc. were stored in large airy buildings, often raised up from the ground to reduce infestation by pests and vermin. Egyptian and early Hebrew writings include reference to such buildings and their successors can still be seen in use in less developed countries and regions. Food Storage Container

800 B.C.:
700 A.D.:
A cupboard-like form is in evidence in an illustration from the Codex Amiatinus, circa 700 A.D. Furniture for Storing Clothing


Armoire is a French word for a clothes dresser. Dictionary: armoire


In previous centuries, such a cabinet was also known as a linen-press. Cabinet

Before 1650:

Before 1650, fine furniture was a rarity in Western Europe and North America. Cabinet Making

Before 1700:

Before the advent of industrial design, cabinet makers were responsible for the conception and the production of any piece of furniture. Cabinet Making

1750 to 1800:

In the last half of the 18th century, cabinet makers such as Thomas Sheraton, Thomas Chippendale and George Hepplewhite also published books of furniture forms. Cabinet Making


The arts and craft movement which started in the United Kingdom in the middle of the 19th century spurred a market for traditional cabinet making, and other craft goods. It rapidly spread to the United States and to all the countries in the British Empire. Cabinet Making


Johann Philipp Reis installed an electric loudspeaker in his telephone in 1861 Loudspeaker. Rudimentary cabinet enclosures were used.


Alexander Graham Bell patented his first electric loudspeaker (capable of reproducing intelligible speech) as part of his telephone in 1876 Loudspeaker Delivering the sound via a cabinet like enclosure that was efficient was still needed and wouldn’t come around til 1950’s.

Nikola Tesla reportedly made a similar device in 1881, but he was not issued a patent. Loudspeaker Sound quality still mediocre. Better cabinet design required to maximize sound.


Horizontal filing cabinet invented. Henry Brown, an American inventor, patented a “receptacle for storing and preserving papers” on November 2, 1886. This was a fire and accident safe container made of forged metal, which could be sealed with a lock. It was special in that it kept the papers separated. Filing cabinet


The vertical filing cabinet (vertical file cabinet in the United States) more or less as in use today was invented by Edwin G. Seibels in 1898. He invented a vertical filing system in 1898 that revolutionized record-keeping. Previously, businesses kept papers in envelopes in turn stored in arrays of pigeonholes often lining a wall. Finding and opening envelopes and unfolding papers was troublesome and inefficient. Seibels reasoned that folding was not necessary; papers could be kept in large envelopes standing on end vertically in a drawer. Filing cabinet


After World War II woodworking became a popular hobby among the middle classes. Cabinet Making


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences immediately began testing its sonic characteristics; they made it the film house industry standard in 1955. Subsequently, continuous developments in enclosure design and materials led to significant audible improvements. Loudspeaker

About this timeline’s curator:

Clint Evans is a health author and marketing expert. A skilled Austin custom cabinets maker he works with has grown to over $1,000,000 in sales in 2012 for the first time in the company’s 7 year history. Cabinets have been important throughout history and continue to be today. In modern society the emphasis is more on aesthetics (function is implied) so the importance of working with a vetted, trusted and skilled custom cabinet maker has never been more valued.

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