From its establishment in 1912 as the All-Steel-Equip Co., the Allsteel name has been associated with leadership. That leadership had its roots in the unique working relationship shared by Charles H. Lembke and John Knell, the entrepreneurs who guided the company through its early years. These two individuals, one a self-driven visionary and the other a gregarious “people person,” understood each other’s distinct abilities. Together they forged a model of teamwork that was quite uncharacteristic for independent-minded business people.
Perhaps no single event cemented the Allsteel reputation for leadership like the development and popularization of the lateral file. First created in 1967 by B.K. Johl (later to be known as Allsteel of Canada), the lateral file revolutionized records management.
The lateral file offered many advantages over the traditional file. Its wide drawers held records in side-to-side, or lateral, format. Files displayed in this manner were easier to identify, remove, and replace. The shallow front-to-back dimensions and short distance of drawer travel made the lateral file a more space-efficient storage solution. Moreover, the clean, uncluttered appearance was far more appealing than a conventional vertical file.
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