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Free analog version of Dropbox available now!

June 9, 2016

Here’s someone’s chance to get their hands on a piece of history!

A vintage “newspaper drop box”, dating back to the halcyon days of print publications, is going begging in the north-side alley of the 1200 block of West Broadway Avenue, in the Fairview neighbourhood of Vancouver, B.C.

This highly collectable gem has been been left out opposite one of the condos in that block for some days now. A printed sign has been taped to the lid saying simply: “TAKE ME AWAY PLEASE!.

It’s just sitting there, waiting for the right sort of discerning collector to come along and scoop it up.

And by “scoop it up” we mean hefting the large concrete-based, heavy-gauge, blur-grey enameled, sheet-steel box into the back of a pickup truck.

The location of the drop box in the alley of the 1200 block of West Broadway.

Location of the box in the north-side alley of the 1200 block of West Broadway.

Some people may be unaware that long before Dropbox became synonymous with Internet-based file hosting and synchronization, the term “dropbox” (or “drop box”) actually meant a lockable container in the real world, designed to  temporarily and securely hold physical objects such as door keys or delivered goods.

The drop box we refer to here was originally used to hold deliveries of newly-printed newspaper editions, back when all newspapers were also real physical objects rather than just websites.

It’s a bit like a telephone stand (anther piece of furniture being made obsolete by digital communications)—once very useful, now increasingly useless.

Aside from just having it as an Objet dcommerce, we can imagine maybe using it as, say, a place to keep small garden implements outdoors. or as temporary storage for old munitions that a person digs up in their yard and—we suppose—even to hold actual physical documents (in real paper file folders). But that’s about all we can think of.

So, in addition to being discerning, the right person for this drop box should probably also be quite imaginative.

Update: Just before 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, a reader and fellow blogger informed me on Twitter that they had indeed rushed to the alley and successfully scooped up the drop box. Click the images to enlarge them.

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