The definition of the bachelor’s chest has become somewhat skewed over time, so we at Furnish Green thought we would provide a bit of historical background for you to get a better grasp on this uniquely titled piece of furniture.
The bachelor’s chest is English in origin, and the first models date from the late 17th century. The chest was compact enough to fit neatly into the type of living accommodations that many young men, or bachelors, utilized when moving to the city and beginning a career. While small, the chest usually had plenty of room to store basic toiletry items, clean shirts, and other essentials that the unmarried male would need.
The bachelor’s chest is a small, shallow and relatively low chest, containing three to four drawers, usually graduated in size. In height, the typical bachelor’s chest will be no more than 36 inches. Historically, the top of the chest was hinged, and could fold out to become a writing surface, supported by runners. Later varieties, in the 18th century, had a brushing slide just underneath the top, which was a pull-out surface for writing or laying out clothing.
While bachelorâ€™s chests are still produced today, they are now utilized more often as pieces that provide extra storage space rather than as a main source of storage. However, we all know that New York City living often calls for smaller furniture, and these can be very functional pieces in small apartment spaces.
The term bachelor’s chest has begun to be used more loosely, which is why you’ll see some discrepancy in our naming processes here at Furnish Green. We often give the name bachelor’s chest to a piece with drawers on the bottom and cabinet space on top. These pieces are also space savers, like the originals, and provide space for your “bachelor” to get himself ready for the day.
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