The origin of the vertical filing cabinet is an unsolved mystery. According to the 'Vertical Filing Cabinet' section of the Early Office Museum website, there’s some controversy as to when the vertical filing cabinet first appeared. But whenever it arrived, it’s a genuinely terrifying thought that the filing cabinet just showed up one day and we all started using it without questioning its existence. That’s a little weird, right?
Some sources claim that a gold medal was presented at the World’s Fair of 1893 for a vertical file. However, The Early Office Museum found no evidence to substantiate those claims. Research by author Ester Ellen-Poe suggests that commercial introduction of vertical filing may have occurred in 1900, when a company named the Library Bureau published a catalog that included a vertical filing cabinet.