Daniel M. Karcher Bookcase For William S. Auchincloss

by John Werry on November 29, 2011

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It’s not often that you can definitively identify a maker for a particular piece of Victorian furniture and equally rare is identifying a piece’s original customer.  When lucky enough to have some of this information, you usually get one or the other.

Although this piece is not on the “rare” end of the craftsmanship spectrum it is rare in another regard:  we can identify both the maker and the original customer.

This is a fairly common form of a Renaissance Revival bookcase, but it sports a very informative label which identifies the maker as Daniel M. Karcher of Philadelphia and William S. Auchincloss as the customer.  Karcher was located at 236 South 2nd Street.

Auchincloss had a fairly colorful life that is documented well on the Internet:

  • He was an inventor – one such invention was an Averaging Machine, “specially designed for averaging the monthly purchases of Messrs. J & P. Coats Best Six-Cord Thread.”
  • Prolific book author
  • Elected as an honorary member of the United States Commissioners to the Universal Exposition in Paris
  • Acted as host and tour guide to the Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro Segundo, on his visit to Wilmington, Delaware in 1876
  • Affiliated with a number of professional societies and clubs
  • World traveler
  • Public Speaker

Pretty impressive.  I think I need to get to work…

Anyway, thanks to Michael for sharing his bookcase with us.

Update: I forgot to mention when I originally wrote this: The rosettes on this cabinet look to have been made by Ornamental Wood Co. from which I have a copy of an 1874 catalog.

 

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