What Is a Mission File Cabinet?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

A mission file cabinet is a cabinet used for storing files and documents. It is built in the mission style, which generally features straight lines and woods with prominent grains shown off. The mission style is exceptionally simple because it was a reaction to the Victorian style, which is highly ornate. A mission file cabinet will be made from wood, usually a hardwood, though some softwoods are used as well. The grain of the wood is usually featured prominently, and the tone of the finish can vary significantly.

Within the mission file cabinet, the drawers will be suited to holding hanging files. These types of files feature hooks on either end that are designed to hang on specially designed rails. This keeps the files standing upright, reducing the likelihood that documents will fall out of the folder or the folder itself will fall down. Dividers can also be placed within the drawer to help separate files from each other if necessary. The rails and dividers are usually adjustable to suit the needs of the person using the mission file cabinet.

The size, shape, and specific design of a mission file cabinet can vary. Some cabinets feature only two drawers and are intended for home offices or lighter-duty use. Others may feature four or five vertically oriented drawers designed to handle a higher amount of files. Some mission file cabinet models are not vertically oriented at all; instead, they are horizontally oriented to create a convenient cabinet that is easy to access. Like vertical cabinets, a horizontal cabinet can feature only two drawers or several.

Additional features can be added to the mission file cabinet. Hardware such as handles and placard holders will generally be made from various types of metals, and like the wood materials used to make the cabinet, the metal fixtures are likely to feature a simple design that is not overly ornate. Often the cabinet will not feature hardware at all; instead, the drawers will be designed in such a way that they can be pulled out easily from the wood. A handle can be carved into the top or bottom of the drawer to facilitate easy movement. Locks can be added to the cabinet as well to prevent theft, tampering, or access from people who are not permitted to access files. Smaller cabinets may feature casters, or wheels, on the bottom of the unit to make the cabinet easily movable.

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