Salesman's Sample Bed, ca. 1870
It's a, a doll bed that's a Murphy bed. So it's... it looks like a cabinet, but opens up and turns into a little bed for a doll.
And where did you get it?
From my father's estate home in Boston that they lived in for four generations. So we don't know...
In Boston, that's very interesting.
Don't know how far back it went.
Well, it is really a, really a complicated little device. And I want to show you how it works. We open these doors, and we have a blanket area, storage. We close this, we have a place for a washbasin. And of course, we open here and we have a little mirror, and I guess you could stand and shave. But the magic happens when you open it like this... And what do we have here? We have a Murphy bed, complete with... Mattress, and fully functional. Another curious feature is that each side has these little drawers, which, I've no idea what they're for, but it certainly adds a feature. This also has a little... would have had a shelf here, for some purpose. Obviously, that's missing. You said this was a doll bed. Well, there's some question about that, and I've been discussing it with some of my friends to really figure it out. In many ways, you could consider it a salesman sample.
Because it displays so many things. It seems a little odd thing to create as a doll bed. And it has a maker's name right here. William Kelly, Bath, Maine, patented April 19, 1870, which is pretty early for a doll bed, I think. I think those things together, the patent date is that early, would suggest more of a functional model of a, of a real thing, which is what a salesman sample would be. Now, I love salesman samples. And that's what intrigues me about this. And in fact, as I say, because it has so many complex items, this is a perfect thing for a salesman to carry around. As far as salesman samples are concerned, the ones that are really desirable are the ones that have metal and complex functioning aspects. When you get into brown furniture salesman samples, it's not quite as much. But, you know, as a sample... I would think at auction, this could easily bring $2,000.
Never seen it. It could be the only survivor.
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