Antique Dental Cabinets

Terry Hurley
Drawers in a cabinet

If you are thinking about adding a unique piece of furniture to your home décor, one of the many beautiful styles of antique dental cabinets may be just what you are looking for. From gorgeous ornate wood grained designs trimmed with marble and beveled mirrors to the sleek styles of the machine age, the uses for these highly sought after furniture pieces of yesteryear are endless.

Antique Dental Cabinets

When you first see many of the antique dental cabinets from years past, you might think they resemble turn of the century china cabinets, sideboards and secretary bookcases except they are much narrower. But looks can be deceiving. Although the resemblance is there, depending on the specific model of these antique medical cabinets they often have:

  • Dozens of small drawers
  • Drawers within drawers
  • Removable drawer style dentist cases for making house calls
  • Revolving doors
  • Bi-fold doors
  • Swing out trays
  • Swing out side doors
  • Large storage areas
  • Tambour roll top areas
  • Divided drawer trays
  • Removable drawer trays

Fine Details

In addition to all of the unique storage features, antique cabinets for dentists were made with a great amount of attention paid to the fine details of excellent craftsmanship and decorative details. Depending on the individual dental cabinet model the cabinets have:

  • Velvet lined drawers
  • Decorative brass trim
  • Decorative designs of mother of pearl or inlaid wood
  • Beveled glass
  • Beveled mirrors
  • Designed leaded glass
  • Hand dovetailed drawers
  • Marble accents or shelf areas
  • Raised wood panels
  • Solid wood backs
  • Areas and compartments with fine locking mechanisms

Types of Wood

Dental cabinets of the late 1800s and early 1900s were constructed of many types of fine wood. It was common practice to use several additional types of wood in some of the interior sections of the cabinets. The various types of wood used were typically:

  • Mahogany (which had to be imported at the time)
  • Oak
  • Quarter sawn oak
  • Walnut
  • Maple
  • Bird's eye maple
  • Cherry

Metal Dental Cabinets

Metal dental cabinets of the Art Deco style are referred to as machine age cabinets and are also very popular with collectors. Cabinets of this era generally have a sleek style and an industrial look. Many popular ones are of the Bel Geddes or Eames eras.

Manufactures of Antique and Vintage Dental Cabinets

Although there are many dental cabinets with unknown makers, the following are some of the companies that manufactured these antique treasures:

  • Ransom & Randolph Company of Toledo, Ohio
  • The American Cabinet Company of Two Rivers, Wisconsin
  • The Harvard Company of Canton, Ohio
  • A.C. Clark & Company of Chicago, Illinois
  • S.S. White Company
  • The Dental Manufacturing Company Ltd.
  • Cash and Sons of England
  • Shelly of Los Angeles

Examples of Antique Cabinets for Dentists

The following are several examples of these beautiful furniture pieces from the past:

  • The "Top of the Line" model dental cabinet from Ransom and Randolph is a spectacular mahogany piece patented in 1899
  • An exquisitely detailed oak dental cabinet from the Harvard Company circa 1900
  • A unique dental cabinet made to look like a Victorian building
  • An Art Deco dental cabinet from the Bel Geddes era
  • Made by Cash and Sons this dental cabinet is from the 1880s

Where to Find Antique Dentistry Cabinets Online

  • Many online auctions, antique stores and antique malls often have dental cabinets for sale.
  • Doug Schmitt Antiques offers many beautifully restored antique and vintage dental cabinets for sale. He also provides pictures of dozens of the cabinets he has sold and often includes images of their restoration process.
  • Brass Lantern Antiques offers many fine dental cabinets and also hosts pictures of those that have sold.

How to Use Antique or Vintage Dental Cabinets in Your Home

In addition to being a stunning addition to your home furnishings, there are endless uses for these versatile furniture pieces. With all of the small drawers and compartments they make excellent places to store your jewelry, family photographs or other small treasures. Cabinets with glass enclosed sections look wonderful as curio cabinets holding your favorite collectibles. If you are a crafter, store your scrapbooking, needlework or jewelry making supplies inside. The uses for antique and vintage dental cabinets are only limited by the design of the piece and your imagination.

Antique Dental Cabinets