Man, I wish I'd thought of this one during NaBloPoMo. It was actually inspired by tikiranch, whom you must visit if you haven't done so yet. His blog made me realize that I have some pretty cool stuff too, and that I should share it with the whole internet, rather than have it sit around the house, unappreciated by everyone but me, and occasionally a cat who needs something to knock over.
So, my first item is something I found this summer at the local flea market. It's a wonderful place, with three large buildings, two buildings consisting of bays with roll-up doors, and rows upon rows of ancient folding tables covered with equal parts goodies and crap. This item stuck out like a jewel. I've never seen anything like it before or since. The first time I saw it, no one was around and it wasn't priced. I imagined it must be rather expensive, since it was so unusual. A few weeks later, it was back. I told the man watching it that I'd seen it a few weeks ago and hadn't been able to get it out of my head. He told me that the time I'd seen it was the only other time he'd brought it. Deciding it must be fate, we struck a deal for $15 and it's graced my dining room ever since.
It's apparently an advertising/storage piece for pharmaceuticals. After I bought it, I googled the company and learned that Bauer and Black were in business in Chicago during the early twentieth century, operating under that name from about 1901-1928. The Pure Food and Drug Act, referenced on the chest, was passed in 1906, meaning that this was produced somewhere between 1906 and 1928 (I'm guessing more towards the early range, though, because it seems likely that as time went on, there'd be no need to advertise compliance with a particular law, it would just be assumed).
It's not in the best condition, but it's a very interesting piece nonetheless. In case it's not obvious from the picture, it's constructed of a very flimsy, thin sort of wood and covered in paper on all sides but the bottom. It's a minor miracle to me that the piece survived at all. But still, it's one of those things in my home that I enjoy looking it literally every time I see it, that's never quite blended in to the background. I hope you enjoyed seeing it, too.