Antique Salvage: J.G. Wilson Wooden Partitions

Late last week we lent a hand to Bull Street Baptist Church while they deconstruct and renovate their ministry halls. The ministry dates back to 1891, and this year is celebrating its 125th anniversary. It seems that along with this century and a quarter of existence, they decided it was time to remodel the interior. So when we went over to assist, we ended up dismantling their horizontal rolling partitions:


The partitions are made of wooden slats that can be cranked into a tight roll. When they're lowered, each slat tightly fits with each, creating a nearly air-tight, sound proof barrier. The handles are made of very old brass, and it was easy to see they were made of old growth and second growth heart pine, which to us was a happy coincidence. Puzzled at why they seemed to bear more significance than graspable by the material and purpose, I looked up the maker engraved into the brass handle. 

I figured I'd be sent through a labyrinth of eBay links, auction ads, and pintrest menageries, but ended up in this digitized catalog from 1920:

"Nearly 30,000 churches and schools are fitted with Wilson rolling partitions and wardrobes, and many hundreds of letters commending them have been sent to this company." We can assume that one of these 30,000 churches and schools was our Bull Street Baptist Church, and this post could be a belated letter of commendation in lieu of a postbox address. 

So we ended up with a large trove of antique horizontal partitions from over 100 years ago, that suddenly. Now we'll have to find something to do with them!

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If you have any ideas for, anecdotes of, or questions about these lovely partitions, please contact us!