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Vintage Shop Fittings



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There are three major types of retailing. The first is the market, a physical location where buyers and sellers converge. Usually this is done on town squares, sidewalks or designated streets and may involve the construction of temporary structures (market stalls). The second form is shop or store trading. Some shops use counter-service, where goods are out of reach of buyers, and must be obtained from the seller. This type of retail is common for small expensive items (e.g. jewellery) and controlled items like medicine and liquor. Self-service, where goods may be handled and examined prior to purchase, has become more common since the Twentieth Century. A third form of retail is virtual retail, where products are ordered via mail, telephone or online without having been examined physically but instead in a catelogue, on television or on a website. Sometimes this kind of retailing replicates existing retail types such as online shops or virtual marketplaces such as E-Bay.

Buildings for retail have changed considerably over time. Market halls were constructed in the middle ages, which were essentially just covered marketplaces. The first shops in the modern sense used to deal with just one type of article, and usually adjoined the producer (baker, tailor, cobbler). In the nineteenth century, in France, arcades were invented, which were a street of several different shops, roofed over. From this there soon developed, still in France, the notion of a large store of one ownership with many counters, each dealing with a different kind of article was invented; it was called a department store. One of the novelties of the department store was the introduction of fixed prices, making haggling unnecessary, and browsing more enjoyable. This is commonly considered the birth of consumerism. In cities, these were multi-story buildings which pioneered the escalator.

In the 1920's the first supermarket opened in the United States, heralding in a new era of retail: self-service. Around the same time the first shopping mall was constructed which incorporated elements from both the arcade and the department store. A mall consists of several department stores linked by arcades (many of whose shops are owned by the same firm under different names). The design was perfected by the Austrian architecht Victor Gruen. All the stores rent their space from the mall owner. By mid-century, most of these were being developed as single enclosed, climate-controlled, projects in suburban areas. The mall has had a considerable impact on the retail structure and urban development in the United States.

In addition to the enclosed malls, there are also strip malls which are 'outside' malls (in Britain they are called retail parks. These are often connected to supermarkets or big box stores. Also, in high traffic areas, other businesses may lease space from the supermarket or big box store to sell their goods or services from. A recent development is a very large shop called a superstore. These are sometimes located as stand-alone outlets, but more commonly are part of a strip mall or retail park.

Local shops can be known as brick and mortar stores in the United States.Many shops are part of a chain: a number of similar shops with the same name selling the same products in different locations. The shops may be owned by one company, or there may be a franchising company that has franchising agreements with the shop owners (see also restaurant chain).

Some shops sell second-hand goods. Often the public can also sell goods to such shops, sometimes called 'pawn' shops. In other cases, especially in the case of a nonprofit shop, the public donates goods to the shop to be sold (see also thrift store). In give-away shops goods can be taken for free.

There are also 'consignment' shops, which is where a person can place an item in a store, and if it sells the person gives the shop owner a percentage of the sale price. The advantage of selling an item this way is that the established shop give the item exposure to more potential buyers.

The term retailer is also applied where a service provider services the needs of a large number of individuals, such as with telephone or electric power.

By A. Edward Hammond


This book has been written mainly for the use of the small retailer with little time and limited capital at his disposal, as the writer's experience has shown him that, although the number of shop fittings and display accessories at the disposal of the retail trader to-day are many and varied, the percentage of retailers who make adequate and efficient use of them is relatively small.
Lack of time, and a mistaken idea that modern shop fittings are "too expensive," are no doubt responsible for the lack of interest shown by a large proportion of retailers in modern shop equipment. Many are content to carry on with the same old style fixtures, year in, year out, not realizing that the neglect of this all-important aspect of their business may, to a large degree, account for their failure to make progress.
That fittings may be obtained which are adaptable to their individual requirements, and a at price which is in proportion to their turnover, is a fact which is not always realized by the owners of average sized shops, and it is hoped that the present work may in some measure serve the useful purpose of increasing the interest of retailers in a subject which must inevitably have a potent effect upon their sales.
The work constitutes the first attempt that has ever been made to produce in convenient form a textbook which deals in an elementary and non-technical manner with the various phases of shop fitting. It has, of necessity, been impossible to deal with the subject in anything but a general way, in order to ensure that the book shall be of relatively equal value to retailers in all trades, and for this reason, the fittings chosen for description have, as far as possible, been those which can be employed with satisfactory results in half a dozen or more different retail trades.
The business man who, after reading this book, feels disappointed that more matter of direct use to him in his individual trade is not included, is asked to bear in mind the fact that the book is only intended as an introduction to a subject the increasing importance of which is only just beginning to be realized. To deal comprehensively and completely with present-day shop fittings and equipment for all trades, an encyclopaedia would be required. For more specialized information on the subject, the retailer should consult his own trade journal.

The art of window dressing and display already occupies a place of its own in the ever-growing world of retail activity; but not on that alone can a successful business be built. Modern methods of storage and efficient service facilities must also be included in the shop-keeper's plans of development. Only by the harmonizing co-operation of these three forces, produced by the use of up-to-date fittings and equipment, can the retailer reasonably expect to see his business flourish.
In conclusion, the author acknowledges, with grateful thanks, the courtesy of those shop fitting and equipment companies who have so kindly helped him with information and advice. To these organizations, the author's thanks are also due for the loan of many of the illustrations.

A. E. H.

November, 1926.


Chapter I


Some Comparisons of old-style shop-fronts with those of the present day

The acceptance by the authorities of the Victoria and Albert Museum of the famous old shop-front of Birch's Restaurant in Cornhill-the oldest shop in the City of London-makes one realize the marked changes which have taken place, in the outside appearances of retail premises, since the days when the façade of this once popular restaurant was considered to be a smart and attractive feature of the building to which it belonged.
Birch's is famous now by reason of its antiquity-the business was founded in 1690. The present shop-front was designed by the Adams brothers, and its style is truly representative of that period of applied ornamentation. It is one of the last links with the old-world city which, now that even the Bank of England is being reconstructed on modern lines, is rapidly losing all outward trace of its historical character. Some comfort, however, may be derived from the fact that an effort has been made to preserve the old-style settings of both the front and the interior, in the new premises at 39A Old Broad Street, to which the business has been transferred.

A Revolution in Shop-Front Construction.

No ordinary shop would be a success to-day with such an unattractive exterior, and it is almost impossible to recognize any similar characteristics between this relic of forgotten days and the present-day shop-front. A revolution has taken place in shop-front construction; but it is practically impossible to trace the course of progress, for, although many ancient houses exist in different parts of the country-houses with thatched roofs and bricked-up window spaces-the demands of commerce have precluded any such retention of dark and gloomy shop exteriors, and, apart from the few such as Birch's, which have been preserved for the sake of their antiquity, there are now hardly any shops extant which are sufficiently old-fashioned to indicate the advances which have taken place.
A glance at Birch's windows is enough to transport one's thoughts back to the days of crinolines; yet, no, surely that entrance was never constructed for crinolines! The rotund city merchants themselves must at times have experienced difficulty in crossing such a narrow threshold. In those days, the value of the shop window as a medium of display was not appreciated, nor was any need felt for an inviting entrance, the quality of the goods was considered to be all that was necessary to retain custom. Competition had not then become rampant, nor for many years did it take its place as a factor of which progress in business and improved methods of selling are the inevitable corollaries.
There is nothing inviting about the entrance to Birch's. It consists of odd double doors-the narrower one of the two is generally the only one left open, and the man of average size finds it necessary to turn sideways in order to enter. Compared with the present-day shop, with its spacious lobby or arcade-front, Birch's can hardly be said to be imposing. A glance at the accompanying illustrations almost obviates the need for any written comparisons.
What changes those old windows have witnessed! The constant rumble of the passing motor buses to-day must surely be enough to disturb the serenity of this unpretentious little façade. It seems out of proportion with its surrounding; the hansom cab, the notoriously uncomfortable knife-board horse-bus, the high-wheeled bicycle, have come and gone while Birch's has remained. Until now, alas, the site is required for something more in keeping with a modern city. The building has been demolished, and is to be replaced by palatial bank premises.

The Shop-Fitting Industry.

Wonderful advances have taken place in the world of retail shop-keeping since the days when Birch's was first opened. The art of shop-window display has become a potent factor in influencing public taste; window-dressing has, in fact, developed into a highly-skilled profession, with its own association of experts. Shop fitting is no longer a side-line of building and joinery. It stands alone as a highly-skilled, flourishing industry. It is, indeed, mainly to the art of the display man and the shop-fitter that we owe the many improvements in the windows and facades of our modern shopping centres.

Progress in Window Lighting.

Window lighting, too, has become an art in itself. How often, when constructing a daintily arranged window display, with tinted lighting effects blending with the various coloured displays of goods-how often, one wonders, does the trader give a thought to the days gone by, when his progenitors had no such aids at their disposal, and were compelled to carry on their business in stuffy little shops, dimly lit by a hanging oil lamp, or some other form of antiquated illumination?
Perhaps the trader of to-day has become a little inclined to take things for granted. Those brilliantly lighted windows in which drawing-room suites are exhibited in a real drawing-room atmospheres, and articles of clothing, no matter whether they are men's sportswear or the latest Paris modes for women, are displayed in front of scenic backgrounds, which give e them such a touch of realism, have not always been everyday factors in retailing.

Display Accessories.

Then, the base of the modern shop window is no longer a mere trestle places just below the window glass. In the more capacious windows, it is only a few inches above the level of the footway outside, and nothing but a thin strip of marble or granite separates the plate-glass from the pavement. Full sized carpets are exhibited in those windows, with room to spare for rugs and sundries. Then, for the display of outdoor goods, what ingenious devices have been brought to the assistance of the window dressing experts! Artificial grass, hand-painted scenery, real splashing fountains, and even sheets of glass are fitted in to the window base to give the effect of frozen river or lake.
The public see the winter scene in the window of the fur store. Realistic icicles hang in the background, a perfectly natural-looking, snow-covered ground is produced by means of cotton wool and mica, and artificial tree branches are covered with "hoar frost" composed of fragments of mica and white confetti. But the up-to-date trader has long since ceased to regard these things as novelties, and the public no longer pause to wonder how it is done. They do not even realize how the wintry setting of the window intensifies their desire for a fur coat and warm raiment, even before natural conditions have made them necessary.
All the old-style, heavy-looking shop fronts are fast disappearing, and are being replaced by those with huge plate-glass windows, and with narrow frames of bronze metal. The shop-fronts shown in the illustrations on page 3 and 5, are representative of entirely different types of retail businesses-the department store and the multiple shop. The growth of the department store movement, and the expansion of the idea of manufacturers owning their own retail shops, or chain stores as they are aptly described in the States, are other factors to which much of the progress in retail methods may be attributed.

The Shopping Arcade.

The extent to which the modern shop window is being used for display is amply demonstrated by the shopping arcade shown in the first illustration. This style of shop-front treatment enables the public to wander round and inspect the goods displayed at their leisure, without being compelled to buy, and at the same time avoiding the disadvantages of being jostled and pushed while examining a window display from the pavement.
In the second illustration is shown a modern type of multiple footwear shop. It will be noticed that the maximum amount of space is given up to the display of boots and shoes in the capacious windows, and that the entrance is commodious and well-lighted. Both these shop-fronts were carried out by Messrs. Harris and Sheldon, Ltd., of 70 Wood Street, London, E.C.2, and Stafford Street, Birmingham, who have kindly loaned the photographs.
Against these two representative types of modern shop-fronts, it is interesting to compare the heavily mullioned windows and narrow doorway of Birch's front (see frontispiece), and to reflect that, too, in its day, was emblematic of commercial enterprise.



The retail trader who has taken the trouble to observe the advances which have been made in recent years in the general style and appearance of shopping centres throughout the country, and even in individual shops, cannot have failed to notice the particularly marked progress evidenced in the construction of shop-fronts, and in the facades of retail premises generally.

Recent Improvements.

Some of the most noticeable improvements which have been effected in the execution of shop-front work of recent years are -
1 The increased space which they provide for the exhibition of
goods in the window.
2 The greater facilities which they afford for the inspection of the
window by passers-by, and
3 The departure from the old-fashioned styles of high stall-risers and uninviting entrances.
People in all localities, even in the poorer districts, are getting used to attractive shop-fronts. Almost without realizing it, they notice the difference in the appearance of retail stores, and if prices and quality are about equal, they will generally go to the shop with the smartest exterior.
This may not apply, perhaps, with so much force to some trades as to others; but the whole point, about this development in shop construction, is that the trader will find himself being left behind in the march of progress unless he makes some effort to keep in line with modern requirements, and has his shop-front so constructed or adapted that it provides maximum space for display and easy facilities for the inspection of his goods by passers-by.
As an example of the progress that has been made, even in shops where window display, in the ordinary sense of the word, is not carried out, the butcher's shop might be mentioned. There was a time when the butcher scoffed at anything but an open front; but how many butchers' shops of reasonable size and decent standing does one see now without a sliding plate-glass window? There are, however, specific trades which have not developed to such an extent-that devoted to the sale of fruit and vegetables is a good example of this-with the result that those fruit and vegetable dealers who have invested in up-to-date equipment and modern shop-fronts, stand head and shoulders above the rest.

The Shop-Front and the Business

It would, in fact, hardly be an exaggeration to say that the shop-front is the outward and visible demonstration of the business carried on behind it. Actually, a poor, shabby-looking façade may be the means of repelling people, even in spite of the fact that there is an attractively-arranged window display on the other side of the plate-glass.
It would, in fact, hardly be an exaggeration to say that the shop-front is the outward and visible demonstration of the business carried on behind it. Actually, a poor, shabby-looking façade may be the means of repelling people, even in spite of the fact that there is an attractively-arranged window display on the other side of the plate-glass.
Retailers do not always realize that their efforts to increase sales are often neutralized to a great extent by dingy and unattractive shop exteriors. Outside appearances count for a great deal, especially with new residents. They are the only means by which potential customers can "weigh up" the qualities of the shop concerned. Just as a slovenly and shabby personal appearance gives a prospective buyer a poor opinion of a salesman, so a shop-front which is badly in need of repair, and has a nineteenth-century aspect, gives the local public a bad impression of the business, and suggests lack of enterprise on the part of the proprietor.
The trader who wishes to keep abreast of the times will find it absolutely essential, therefore, to keep his shop-front not only clean and attractive but up to date, and adapted to the modern requirements of the public with regard to facilities for the convenient inspection of the goods exhibited in the window.

An Arresting Analogy.

Attractive window display and good lighting are both essential factors in the development of a modern retail business; but without a suitable and attractive setting in the form of a modern shop-front, the whole effect is spoilt and both money and time wasted. If one may be permitted to use an even more forceful analogy to bring home the point, it will be readily agreed that it would be highly unsatisfactory to put a valuable oil painting in a cheap wood frame, or to surround a dainty etching with a heavily gilded border. They would be out of proportion, and the frames would have a depreciating effect upon the pictures. However valuable the works of art might be, they would be brought down to the level of the frame. The same applies with even more emphasis to the attractive and well-arranged window display which is surrounded by a shabby or weather-beaten framework.
In choosing a new shop-front, the retailer will do well to remember that he should select a type which is in proportion to the buying powers of the local residents. To spend a large sum on a beautifully executed and lavishly decorated façade in a poor district might be a waste of money; but the range of styles and materials used in shop-front construction to-day is so extensive, that it should be easily possible to obtain a type of façade which is suitable for any class of district, and there need be no fear of frightening customers away with a too pretentious exterior, if the retailer takes the advice of experts on the subject.

Bronze Metal Shop-Fronts

Of recent years, the most popular material used in the construction of shop-fronts has been bronze metal, or coinage-bronze, as it is often called. A shop-front framed in this material is very little more expensive than one carried out with a mahogany or high-class wood finish. The composition of the bronze metal used for the work generally consists of 90 per cent copper and 10 per cent spelter (zinc). The metal is keyed around wooden cores, usually of birch.
One of the points in favour of a bronze metal shop-front is its durability. It is practically impervious to weather conditions. Unlike painted wood, it does not blister under a strong sunlight, and it remains quite unaffected after a long wet season. Once bronze metal is erected, therefore, it involves no upkeep charges for periodical overhauling, painting, graining, varnishing, and the like. When first erected, it has a yellowy-copper hue; but this tones down in a short time to a permanent rich bronze.
It requires no cleaning or polishing, a wipe over occasionally with an oily rag, and a rub with a dry polishing cloth, being all that are necessary to keep it in perfect condition. Further, bronze metal will not clash with any colour or material, and, if used in conjunction with marble or granite, the general effect is particularly pleasing.
In certain districts and in conjunction with some types of buildings, wooden fronts may be more suitable. If an old world setting is desired, for instance, in an ancient cathedral city, a semi-gothic exterior would probably be produced more satisfactorily in wood. In Exeter, Canterbury, and Winchester, and other ancient cities in various parts of the country, may be seen some delightful specimens of old-style shop-fronts adapted to modern conditions.
The owners of the shops concerned have appreciated the importance of linking up the characteristic features of their city with their own store, and while realizing the value of an attractive and conveniently constructed façade, have wisely refrained from letting modern styles conflict with the ancient architectural features in the vicinity of the shop.
Having dealt with the general tendencies in the treatment of the retailer's premises, I now propose to deal with practical points about the modern shop-front, so that the trader who decides to modernize his shop exterior may have some data on which to work out his plans for improvement.

The Stall-Riser.

This is the lower part of the shop-front which comes between the bottom of the plate-glass window and the pavement. Polished granite is generally regarded as the most suitable material for this section. Marble is probably the next best; but it needs careful selection, for some varieties have a tendency to fade with exposure, and to lose their original attractive appearance. The surface of granite is more or less impervious to weather, and always retains its colour.
Another material which is frequently used for the front of the riser is colour4ed tiling set in cement. Attractive colour schemes can be introduced with this type of stall-riser; but, here again, care must be exercised in selecting the material. At one time, it was impossible to obtain tiles which did not eventually split or chip. This failing has been obviated to a great extent, and a frost-proof tile is now produced which will stand hard wear and exposure.
Where the trader uses his basement for any particular purpose beyond the storage of lumber, it is generally desirable to allow for the infiltration of light from below the shop window. Where this is necessary, the stall-riser requires different treatment.
In the past, leaded lights have generally been used for this purpose; but they have been replaced to a great extent in the modern shop-front by prismatic glass set in metal frames. These add to the appearance of the riser and provide a setting which blends admirably with most styles of shop-fronts construction; but, what is more important, the prisms actually amplify the light, and so increase the supply of daylight which penetrates into the basement.


One of the most important component parts of the shop-front is the signboard over the window, or, to give it its proper designation, the facia. This should, of course, be in keeping with the general style of the façade. Incised gold lettering and glass fronts for this section of the shop-front are not now so popular as they were some years ago, but are being replaced in modern premises by solid bronze lettering, fixed either to a white opalite background, or to the solid marble or granite.
With some styles of shop-fronts, white painted lettering of an artistic but not ornate nature is preferable. Where the front is of wooden construction, a background of polished wood is generally more suitable for the facia; but this requires more frequent attention, and the cost of upkeep is naturally greater. In industrial districts, where the atmosphere is much affected by smoke, or where fogs are prevalent, plate-glass facias have an advantage in that they are more easily kept clean.
It is generally advisable for the retailer to have his name below the window as well as above it, for the convenience of people inspecting the display; it saves them stepping back in order to see the name over the shop, and thus running the risk of being jostled by the passing pedestrians. The window-riser-the sloping front of the window base- is well adapted to this purpose.
An alternative method for the trader who does not have his name on the window-riser, is to have small stall-plates fixed above the stall-riser. Those of bronze metal, with raised lettering of the same material, are very neat. There is no possibility of the letters becoming dislodged, as each one is completely case and screwed through from the back of the plate.
A type of facia which is popular, but which has by no means become commonplace, is that which takes the form of a reproduction of the retailer's signature, in the ordinary bronze metal lettering on an opalite background. A similar treatment can also be given, if desired, to the name-plates below the window.
One of the latest types of name-plates suitable for use on the window-riser is one which can be illuminated from behind. The lettering is cut out, and the light showing through an opalite background makes the name stand out prominently. This can take the form of the retailer's signature, if desired, or other lettering on opalite or some form of translucent glass can be used.


Some years ago, it was usual to have shop-fronts with plate-glass windows filling the whole space from facia to stall-riser; but it was gradually realized that this left a blank effect at the top of the window, and a great deal of this space was wasted, particularly in certain classes of shops, where it was not desirable to dress the window above a certain level. To obviate this, the modern window is constructed with a semi-ornamental treatment above the transom (the cross-bar about three-quarters of the way up the window). This, as will be seen from the illustration on page a 3, in addition to improving the appearance of the shop-front, and taking off the bare effect of the plain sheet of plate-glass from top to bottom, serves the purpose of concealing the window-lighting equipment from the view of the passer-by.
There are various styles of treatment for this section of the window above the transom, and leading lights in differently patterned designs are popular. An attractive, and incidentally more expensive, treatment can be obtained by the introduction of prismatic glass set in metal frames.
These ornamental transom windows can be arranged so as to allow the daylight to penetrate above the false ceiling of the window enclosures, into the interior of the shop, and the last mentioned treatment is an improvement on the leaded lights, because it actually amplifies the amount of daylight which filters through into the interior. Translucent glass in its various forms is another suitable material for this section of the window.

The Representative Shop-Front.

It is surprising to what extent a shop front can be made representative of the trade carried on behind it. In the florist's shop, for instance, the flowers and plants can be given a more natural setting if the whole shop-front is carried out in green. The stall-riser can very well be covered with glazed tiles, and the framework painted green to match. This green treatment outside provides a wonderfully attractive setting for the display of ferns and hothouse plants in the window. Green is one of the most predominating of nature's own colours, and flowers displayed behind a shop-front executed in green have a natural appearance which must tend to add to their saleable value.
In the West End of London may be seen a shop-front which is wonderfully suggestive of a fireplace, and thus representative of the goods sold inside (the premises of the Bell Range and Foundry Co., 16 Berners Street). The constructional features round the window, carried out in a faience (glazed earthenware) are representative of a fire-surround, while the balustrade in front suggests a hearth-curb.
A trade in which the shop-front materials can be made not only representative of the materials sold, but can also be used to demonstrate their effectiveness in use, is that of the builders' merchant. Each section of the shop-front can be made representative of the various types of building materials. The stall-riser, for instance, could very well be covered with different grades and colourings of tiling, and the background construction of the window might consist of the best types of panelling for household purposes and thus be made to demonstrate their find appearance.
Then, the bed or base of the window could be used to emphasize the attractiveness and good-wearing qualities of parquet flooring, or of inlaid linoleum, the floor of the shop-lobby might be similarly employed for exhibiting either rubber flooring or crazy-paving in actual use.



The modern shop entrance is generally constructed in such a way that it continues the good work commenced by the window, and tends to draw people into the shop. The old-style, narrow entrance, a common and unsightly feature of shops constructed a few decades ago, was often a means of repelling rather than of attracting customers.
People were, perhaps, favourably impressed by the display, but, having made some approving comments about it, were content to walk on and inspect the next window, and so on down the street, without crossing over the threshold of any of the shops.
With the modern shop-front, the gradual attraction of the customers into the shop is much more easily effected, because the tendency is to have fairly roomy lobbies, which permit of extensive display on both sides, and, in certain trades, notably that devoted to footwear, it has been found a good plan to have a showcase just inside the door.

Entrance Showcases.

A doorway showcase serves the purpose of a display adjunct, and also acts as a screen where it is desired to have the door open without exposing unnecessarily the interior of the shop. For example, in the case of the shoe store, the interior is not only given up to selling and display, but also serves as a fitting room, and customers trying on boots and shoes are thus hidden from the gaze of passers-by.
Cases of this type form very attractive settings for the entrance to a shop. Customers who may not have seen the exact type of article they desire in the lobby are enabled, by means of a showcase placed near the door, to continue their inspection as they walk into the shop. They thus find themselves inside almost before they are aware of it.
Often passers-by will scan the windows of a shop and, not seeing what they require, will pass on. A doorway showcase impels them to extend their inspection, and, having once crossed they shop threshold, they are far more likely to go right inside and make inquiries for whatever goods they need.
Doorway showcases permit of the display of an extensive range of goods, for they are generally made about 6ft. 6in. high, 2ft. to 4ft. wide, and 1ft. to 2ft. deep. Variations in shelving can be arranged, and in order to permit of frequent change in the style of the display, it is a good plan for the trader to have a reserve set of glass shelves. These shelves can be raised or lowered as required by means of adjustable bars and brackets fixed inside the case.
Alternative displays might be arranged by having three of four full-length shelves in the case one week, and the next week removing the three lower ones, and fitting in corner shelves half way down the case, with a pedestal display stand surmounted by an oval glass shelf in the centre. Other variations will, of course, suggest themselves to the retailer or to his display man.
The style and shape of the door-case is entirely a matter for the taste of the individual retailer. They vary, of course, according to the requirements of the different trades; but the trader should be guided to a great extent by the general style of the mural fittings and decorations in his shop. The same applies to the materials of which the doorway showcase is constructed. Oak, mahogany, and bronze metal are the most popular frames, but other materials are obtainable if specially desired.

Disadvantages of Island Windows.

Island windows and lobby showcases are not so popular among retailers as they were a few years ago; although they are still in use in several neighbourhoods, and are, in fact, being constructed in conjunction with modern shop-fronts for various classes of trade. The existence of the island showcase has several disadvantages. It reduces the shop entrance into a series of passages which are not generally considered so imposing and inviting as the broad spacious effect produced by the present-day open lobby.
Another disadvantage of the island window or lobby showcase is that it has to be dressed from the lobby, which means that each time a re-arrangement of the display becomes necessary, the whole of the contents of the case have to be transferred into the shop, and cleaning utensils, fresh fittings, and the various items for the new display, have to be carried out into the lobby in ones and twos, and dumped on the floor of the lobby to enable the display man to select items as the dressing progresses.
This involves a lot of extra time and trouble, not to mention the inconvenience to people entering and leaving the shop, if the display happens to be carried out during opening hours. It can hardly be wondered, therefore, that in most of the modern shop-fronts, these features are no longer introduced, and that retailers have as a whole shown an inclination to return to the expansive lobby with its more capacious windows which can be conveniently dress from inside the shop.
In a small establishment, where the interior is inclined to be cramped or the window space limited, it may be advisable to have a lobby case, if the lobby is large enough to permit of an unimpeded egress and ingress on the part of customers; but, ordinarily, the doorway showcase is more satisfactory, and does away with the need for any supplementary features in the lobby. And, as has been already pointed out, a doorway showcase is in a much more suitable position from the point of view of drawing customers in to the shop.
The floor of the lobby looks attractive if it is carried out in mosaic or other ornamental stone treatment, with the trader's name or initials arranged in the centre. Rubber, with vulcanite backing, is now popular for shop-lobby flooring. It is of a particularly durable nature-even outlasting marble, and may be obtained in various colours.

Lighting the Lobby.

As far as illumination is concerned, a translucent, semi-indirect lighting fitting placed in the centre of the ceiling gives the lobby just that necessary degree of brightness without any element of dazzle or glare.
As a rule, outside lighting of the shop is not advisable, the lobby and window lighting effects being sufficient to show both window display and shop-front to full advantage. Exterior lights, in fact, often have the effect of spoiling the window lighting results by casting shadows or rays of light where they are not desired.
An excellent specimen of a modern shop-front is shown in the illustration on page 5. In this photograph, it will be noticed that the floor of the lobby is continued in the form of a raised pavement some feet beyond the window, for the full length of the shop-front.
Another thing which needs consideration when a new shop-front is being erected is the type of gate or grille to be used when the shop is closed. It is preferable to have one which is adapted to the style of the shop-front, and permits of the inspection at a distance of most of the goods shown in the lobby windows after closing hours.

Adapting Old Shop-Fronts to Modern Requirements.

It may be helpful to those retailers, who for one reason or another are unable to contemplate the purchase of a new shop-front at the present time, if a few notes are included in this chapter on the adaptation of old-style entrances to modern requirements. Between the window displays and the insides of many shops there is often a great gulf in the shape of an uninviting entrance, and the trader who is handicapped with a narrow lobby will be well advised to get it adapted to modern conditions as soon as possible. Failing that, he should see that it is well-lighted and provides easy facilities for the uninterrupted inspection of the goods displayed in the window.




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