Globe Wernicke Furniture
The Globe Wernicke Furniture Company started life in 1882 as The Globe Files Company, and later evolved to encompass the Wernicke Company. Globe Wernicke is primarily known as a manufacturer of office furniture.
Brief history and description of manufacturer
Cincinnati-based The Globe Files Company was established by Henry C. Yeiser, an American businessman, whose factory produced office furniture. The Wernicke Company meanwhile was established in Michigan, and was purchased by Yeiser, who was interested in a new design of shelving the company had created.
Globe Wernicke are mostly remembered today for this creation, modular bookcases, which are typified by their glass front and adaptability, as the bookcases are well suited to being moved around to accommodate additional stacking units, allowing the consumer to adjust the height and depth of the bookcase. This is accomplished as a result of the bookcases’ upward-lifting door mechanism, whereby additional shelving can attach to the top of each individual shelf. The design was such a success that variations were adopted by several other furniture manufacturers, such as the strikingly similar designs by England’s Minty and Gunn.
Globe Wernicke’s modular bookcases were originally constructed at a purpose-built fourteen acre site. At the height of production, Globe Wernicke had factories in several locations around Europe, as well as their original base of manufacture in the United States. Globe Wernicke has undergone several metamorphoses since their original merger; in 1955 the company was purchased by Ohio-based City Auto Stamping, and their name was later changed to Globe-Weis Systems.
The company ceased all production outside of America during the 1960s.
Guide for Collectors
The company’s products are considered to be highly desirable to collectors, and are regarded as antiques with practical usage. These pieces, in particular the stackable and adaptable modular bookcases, regularly appear at auction houses and internet auction sites such as eBay.
In addition to their availability at auctioneers and online, Globe Wernicke pieces are also widely available at numerous antique shops. When sold in multiples, the modular bookcases can sell for thousands of pounds, whilst individual items tend towards being less expensive.
Notable auction sales
Prices vary according to the item in question's condition and desirability. Whilst the company made other items of furniture, the modular bookcases remain the most popular at auction.
At the lower end of the price scale, a three section barrister's bookcase sold from Empire Estates and Auctions LLC for $35 on 20th February 2011, whilst a mahogany three section bookcase sold from Eastbourne Auction Rooms for $50 4th May 2007.
In the middling price range, on 27th September 2009, a Globe Wernicke Oak Four-Stack Bookcase sold from Kaminski Auctions for $400, and a three-section leaded glass bookcase sold for $350 from Saco River Auction on 18th June 2011.
At the higher end of the price scale, on 22nd November 2008, five sets of stacking bookcases sold for $6000 from Kamelot Auctions, and four six-stack oak bookcases sold for $4600 at the same auction. Northgate Gallery sold a companion pair of Globe Wernicke mahogany bookcases for $2000 on the 4th October 2008.