The retro-futuristic offices of the Central Social Institution in Prague

This office photo might look like something out of a bizarre retro science-fiction movie like Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil.” but this is a real office — located at the Central Social Institution in Prague, in a picture taken in the late 1930s. The desks that slide up and down the wall are essentially tiny, open individual elevators with a desk and chair built into them, and were designed to make it easy for staff to access the files held in the massive card catalogue that the CSI maintained at the time — 3,000 drawers, 10 feet high, reaching from floor to ceiling and covering approximately 4,000 square feet, which at the time (and probably even now) was the largest filing cabinet in the world.

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