Why, Why, Why? Bottom number theory takes a big hit!

Hi all!

As a reminder, I have been tracking the 3 and 4 digit numbers found on some Tall, Short Beveled (SB) and Short Rounded (SR) boxes.  If the numbers are read backwards, like the serial numbers on the full sized Lane chests, the numbers can be interpreted as dates.   If they are read forward, some can’t represent dates.  So for example, 4521 found on a Tall box read backwards is December of 1954 but it couldn’t represent a date read forward.

This theory has been going along pretty well with Tall boxes being found with “date stamps” right around where I would expect them – 1951-1955.   Also found SR boxes with “dates” of 1956 and SB 1965.

I haven’t been able to entirely buy-in to this theory because in all of my research I’ve only found 23 boxes with numbers on their bottoms.  If all of the boxes from the above years were stamped I would expect, given my estimation of the number of boxes manufactured each year, that 10%-15% of all boxes would have a number stamp.  Additionally, an ever higher percent of Tall boxes (as much as 40%) would have number stamps.  I’m not seeing these percentages although it’s hard to tell for sure.

Now, the reason for this post…I found this bottom stamp on ebay today…

771 label

January of 1977 for a Tall box?  Nope.  Not even close.  Even July of 1971 wouldn’t be close!

Ugh!  I know for certain Tall boxes were definitely not made after the late 1950’s.  So 1977 isn’t even close.  Also, the photos of the Tall box show a logo, inset felt on the bottom and a screwed-in lock-set; all expected on a Tall box from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

This is a huge blow to my theory about the bottom stamped numbers and I don’t know where to go to resolve it.

That’s all I got.  Until next time…

Chad

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