Who has something heavy on top of a new-generation Steelcase file cabinet?


In one of my offices I have two Steelcase 42″ lateral filing cabinets, purchased back in the 1990s, supporting a 120-gallon aquarium (rule of thumb is that an acrylic aquarium weighs 10 lbs. per gallon, including the tank and gravel):

2014-11-05 16.12.22

I’m setting up a new office and thought it would be nice to replicate the set-up. I contacted Red Thread, the Steelcase retailer in Massachusetts, and the saleswoman, Jessica Andrews, responded with “… that will not work.  That is far too heavy for these lateral files, we don’t recommend it.” I replied with the photo above. She answered with “The particular file you have under that tank currently, is a work horse.  Unfortunately, Steelcase no longer has that series.  Their files have come a long way over the years, they are more environmentally friendly…less metal.  Therefore, we cannot say that these files will support that tank.”

So I asked how much the new cabinets weighed. The answer was over 300 lbs. each. Given that a 96 lb. wooden cabinet can support a 220-gallon tank, was it really the case that 600 lbs. of steel couldn’t support a 120-gallon tank? I’m asking the Steelcase cabinets to handle 1/11th of the load per lb. of stand. I asked her if she could repeat the test that I did before placing a heavy aquarium on these cabinets: Have three 6′-tall guys sit on them and see if the drawers still function normally. She responded “we are not going to have employee’s sit on a lateral file” and then Frank Tenaglia, VP of Sales for Red Thread, added in a separate email “As Jess stated earlier, our 3 drawer lateral files are not intended to hold 120 gallon fish tanks. We want no part of this.”

Do any readers work in an office with a 42″-wide Steelcase lateral file (2- or 3-drawers high) of recent vintage? Have a trio of 200-lb. guys available and willing to sit on top for a test? If so, please let me know what you find! Alternatively, if you have some of these newer, supposedly wimpier cabinets from Steelcase and something heavy on top, please let me know how it has worked out.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

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