The Unique "Under-Window" Merchandiser Cabinets

Most of the major manufacturers offered these lower style work benches to their consumers.

The quantities must of been very low as most of these benches are quite scarce.

Custom Car Dealership or Oil Company Emblems for Workbenches

 
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Starting sometime in the early 1940’s (1942 most likely) Alemite and a few other manufacturers would ship you custom emblems for your Work Station. The options where mostly for the larger Oil Companies or Car Manufacturers.

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Below is one of the only customized dealership emblems that we have seen. This one was attached to a late 40’s Alemite bench.

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Above is a unique Desoto Dealership emblem on a early 40’s Kent-Moore cabinet.

The 1948 Kent-Moore Dual-Turret Merchandiser

If there was ever a Unicorn of a Workbench for us, this is it! Kent-Moore was really trying a daring design with this unit, right in the peak of the Merchandiser craze. Round sliding cabinet doors, 6ft long workbench with three doors, removable rolling cart, the list goes on.

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We assumed that we would never ever see a complete original Turret unit with the bench.

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To date we have seen four other turret side cabinets, but this may be the only surviving full bench. Please reach out if you know of any others.

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The Unit was also available in a Mono-Turret configuration seen below.

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Now to clean her up some…

 
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John Bean Visualiner Alignment Cabinets

This photo of a unique styled Visualiner is from 1954 inside a GM dealership in New Zealand. A brand new Holden sits on the rack. This cabinet may be a very early model, or something that another company manufactured other than John Bean. I love the styling of the top Visualiner sign.

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The company states that these beautiful Visualiner cabinets were released to market in 1947, however we found this ad below from their role out in September, 1946.

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Fun fact: There were two different color emblems for the John Bean alignment units over the years. We do not yet have a concrete answer on what years possessed which versions.

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Here is a Visualiner in use in Paris

Alemite gets into the Work Bench business

This is the earliest ad we have found for an Alemite Work Station. February 1940

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The Drawing includes a small drawer on the front of the bench and the ad refers to two large drawers, but the closest we have seen to a drawer on these is this configuration below from 1942.

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Most of the units came with a cabinet door on both sides of the center bench.

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It is especially interesting how similar Alemite’s first bench is to the earliest Lincoln and Kent Moore units. They all debuted within months of each other.

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The Gulf themed Work Station

For years we have entertained the idea of painting up a Merchandiser in the Gulf Racing theme. The colors play so nice off of each other and we had never seen one.

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Well a regular to our site has found a Shure bench in Gulf colors, and we are still loving it.

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A.S.I. - Auto Service Industry show

From at least 1938 through the 50’s the Automotive Service Industry Show at Navy Pier in Chicago was the main place for suppliers to show off their new products. The shows/conventions were highly attended; around 21,000+ people in their peak years of 1947 and 48 and 500-600 manufacturers . There was no show in 1949 and by 1950 the numbers began to drop off. (16,000)

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The Alemite display booth was well attended, with a merchandiser displayed right in the center. Some displays cost north of $10,000 at the time, and companies used everything from key rings to smoking pipes to attract visitors.

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The show floor; 1938

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Entrance to the 1950 ASI show (image from Motor Age magazine, Jan. 1951)

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The Shure Sales Promotion Manager, Stan Lenehan, at the International A.S.I. show with one of the first Shure Mfg. Merchandisers

The ARO service merchandiser

With only two pictures of their elusive work stations, this ARO cabinet may be one of the more rare units out there.

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Possessing an indented single stainless trim piece across the top of the cabinets and a study center bench, the ARO merchandiser appears to be able to take a variety of different center sections. Much of the benches details, like hinges, handles and proportions, tend to have me believe that they may have been built out of surplus Lincoln Engineering units. We have not seen the rectangular ARO emblem until January 1948 and after, so that is the best gauge of when these cabinets would have been manufactured.

If you have one of these workbenches, please reach out to us.

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1949 Buick Lubricare photo ad

1948 Lincoln sectional merchandiser

In this Lincoln Engineering bulletin sent to us by Mike Kalstad; you can get a glimpse of one of their more rare configurations.

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You could order any combination you desired of these shorter work station setups. 

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We have yet to see one with its side cabinets intact.  Perhaps many were ordered as a stand-alone bench, or they were repurposed over the years.

Sun Test Equipment Wall Cabinet

We had never seen one of these unique cabinets in person before, so we decided to bring it on back with us.

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The Diagnosis Cabinet was built around 1948-1951 and allowed the mechanic to tuck away their Sun Test equipment.  It came with a writing desk in the center and a top illuminated glass display.  We love the curved cast metal end caps.  Below is the original catalog ad from 1950.

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Below you can see what the original Sun signage would have looked like.

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This is not a small unit.  Measuring in at 13 feet wide, 17 inches deep, and 7 and a half feet tall.  Here is cabinet as found in its original mechanics garage.

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The exceptional Kent-Moore Turret model bench

For many years we have longed to receive any conformation that Kent-Moore actually produced this Work Station with round sliding side-cabinets.

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Only possessing literature, and small hints at the bottom of Motor Age ads, we began to accept that we may never see one in the wild...

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...until a new acquaintance was made, with stories to tell and images to share.

With a huge thank you to Greg Dravis,

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We present you with the Kent-Moore "Dual-Turret" Merchandiser

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In the same month that we finally received photographic proof of this model; this single Turret above showed up in Texas and is now in our collection.

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Notice how the door swings from the attachment to the center pole. There is no contact between the door and the outer cylinder until it closes all the way.

Also confirmed is that there are three threaded holes underneath the cabinet for optional factory wheels.

The Work Station that got us started...

1949 Alemite

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I found this merchandiser years ago and purchased it.  The fact that there was not much information on these workbenches online, is the reason we started collecting vintage literature and photos.  This began our quest to uncover the full history of these different models.

1948 All Original Graco has a new home

We recently sold off this complete Merchandiser.

It is still one of three Graco’s we have seen with the original, beveled, dealer glass intact.  In this original state, it went off to become a display inside a upscale clothing store.

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A complete Lube gun set went along with it.

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