What is this very tall cupboard used for?
July 10, 2015 6:26 AM   Subscribe

This odd piece of furniture is in an upcoming auction in my area. It's called a "map cupboard" in the listing. Was it made to hold incredibly large rolled up maps? I've never seen one before.
posted by crazylegs to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Could be. Is there a shot of the inside? Might also work for pool cues. But that would damage the edges. Usually I see them flat drawer style.

If there's a number of shelves or cubbies it might be maps, but if it's got little holes for cues ....
posted by tilde at 6:50 AM on July 10, 2015

If it has shelves inside it might also be a linen cabinet or a pantry cupboard.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:01 AM on July 10, 2015

If it has shelves inside I guess you could also call it a chimney cupboard (like these), but it's odd that there's only the one door.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:01 AM on July 10, 2015

I sort of wonder if it's for the type of maps that (used to? do they still?) hang above chalkboards in public schools. The ones I remember either rolled up around metal or wood poles, or into metal tubes with slots. Those probably wouldn't be damaged by being stored on end - I can remember them being leaned into corners - and this seems the right size?
posted by stormyteal at 7:21 AM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

That cupboard may have been built simply to fill the space between floor and ceiling, not so much for a specific purpose as a specific place.
posted by adamrice at 7:22 AM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

If it has a single shelf inside, it could hold normal sized rolled up maps.
posted by smackfu at 7:34 AM on July 10, 2015

Could it be a cabinet for rifles or shotguns? It would definitely help to know what shelves or drawers are inside.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:52 AM on July 10, 2015

Was it made to hold incredibly large rolled up maps?

Yes, yes it was. As stormyteal points out, that was most commonly in schools; the geography department at my uni had about 70 maps of that size, used for lectures, spooled on a very long wooden dowel that mounted above the blackboards. They were stored in cupboards of that size.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:12 AM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

It's either misidentified, being used for something other than its original purpose, or an exceedingly poor design. As others have said, you'd normally want to store maps laying down, either in a flat file, on narrow shelves, or rolled in cubbies. I have had vertical cubbies before, where the maps or plans stood on end, but the rolls were separated by the cubbies and not in a container, so I could find whichever roll I wanted quickly. With this cabinet, you'd have to shuffle through the contents to find anything, and if there's a dividing shelf it would be very diffiult to identify things on the top shelf. If this was made for a specific map, fine, but I wouldn't use it for storing a bunch of large format rolls unless I needed to look at them very rarely.
posted by LionIndex at 8:17 AM on July 10, 2015

This catalog listing for a similarly sized/shaped map cupboard suggests they're still in use in schools in Poland at least.
posted by katemonster at 10:34 AM on July 10, 2015

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