edging and covered ridging were added they were also used in reception areas. As a result of this, the Globe-Wernicke bookshelf system developed a wider market.
ORIGINALITY VERSUS PLAGIARISM
The production of the Globe-Wernicke bookcase units was not only linked to the USA. In London they also started manufacturing them and as a result they also became a great success in Victorian England. Thanks also to the world-wide spread of the British colonies, people even came across the stackable bookshelves in India. Successful products are always imitated. After the first patent expired (after 20 years), the first copies appeared. This was not only the case in the USA and England, but copies were also being made in Germany and Scandinavia. A big difference between these copies and the original Wernicke units was that the first named copies were limited only to the production of a few designs. Globe-Wernicke was the only one who supplied a rich assortment of varying depths, breadths, heights and styles. Every new product was instantly patented, which meant the Globe-Wernicke company remained a step ahead of the competition. It is also thanks to the slogan “It grows with your
business and your business grows with it”, that Globe-Wernicke grew to be one of the largest factories of its time.
Besides the ‘Standard line’ of Globe-Wernicke, there was also the simpler Universal Style and the luxury Ideal Unit Bookcase with stained-glass, pilasters on the balusters and a ridged cover with cut-out acanthus leaves. All cupboards were delivered in oak and mahogany. What began as simple stackable shelving units, sometimes turned into a complete library, with as many partition as corner models in varying sizes. In adverts, the cupboards were praised with the term “The Unit Idea”, to help spread the basic concept of the shelving system. With the luxury Ideal Unit Bookcase - the Rolls Royce of bookcase systems - Globe- Wernicke in 1912 reached its highest point. Later, in 1920 sales dropped and Wernicke, the inventor, died. After a takeover in 1955, the workers at Norwood handed in their notice and with that the curtain fell on the Globe-Wernicke company. The end of a company with a remarkable history and a unique product. But this did not automatically mean the end of the Globe-Wernicke shelving system. The opposite in fact.
Nowadays it is still possible to make up library shelving systems with the original Globe-Wernicke units. Due to the fact that the ceilings since the second half of the last century have become lower, and standard antique bookcases in most houses did not fit, the old style shelving system is a good alternative.
The bookcases are sold in sections and we can look for whatever colour, grain or size fits best together. Often people divide two large units as bases, which are then built up with smaller units of the same size and then finished off with a ridge round the top.
The original Globe-Wernicke bookcases are available in four different depths and