Cubbies and Holes Question

When we were at the furniture refinishing shop the other day the owner showed us this piece that he is currently working on for other customers (who, it turned out, are members of our family!). No one knows what it was designed for. The holes in the bottom of the compartments are too big for shot glasses, and I think too big for egg cups, also. When it was found, some of the cubbyholes had labels attached in front, listing some of the United States. But you will notice there aren’t enough spaces for all 50. 

Does anyone out there have an educated guess as to the intended purpose of this furniture?

9 thoughts on “Cubbies and Holes Question

  1. Too small for bowling balls, and probably too big for baseballs, though softballs would be about right. 😉 I didn't take out my tape measure, but I'd guess in hindsight that the cubbies are about 5″ square.

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  2. How peculiar! My first thought was that perhaps it was for the stgorage of something that might require the free passage of air around it. (Well, actally, that isn't true. If I'm honest, my first though was some sort of marbles game but that would be ridiculous so I didn't want to admit to it).

    I have done a google image search for “pigeon hole units” and similar, with and without the word “antique”, to see whether I could get any ideas and I found this. If the spaces are meant to accommodate lockable drawers of the variety shown in that photograph, it doesn't seem beyond the realms of possibility that the holes could be part of some sort of locking mechanism. Perhaps turning the key would cause a piece of wood/metal to insert itself into the hole, thus preventing removal.

    Pure speculation on my part, of course, but it's all I could think of.

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