Difficult to part from old bookcases

One day, we got an email from someone saying that they had met a couple that was supposed to own a BILLY bookcase from 1972. The BILLY bookcase was featured in the IKEA catalogue for the first time in 1979. Now, that’s interesting, we thought! Let’s go and talk to them.

We brought a camera, a dictaphone and some catalogues from the 1970s and headed for their house. We were met by the Samuelssons, who welcomed us in to their neat and pretty house in the outskirts of Älmhult, Sweden.

The Samuelssons met in 1966, and moved in together in 1972 in Lund, Sweden, after getting married in Växjö Domkyrka. Catharina Samuelsson came from a religious family, and for her parents it was unthinkable to move in together before marriage in those days.

– I was allowed to go to one school dance. That’s when I met Bosse, she tells us smiling.

For their first flat, they bought two bookcases. Bosse remembers unpacking the first of the two bookcases in the flat:

– The screws were missing from the package! So typical IKEA, we thought back then.
He opened the second box to assemble that instead. It contained double sets of screws! So he was able to assemble them after all.


In their youth, Catharina bought many books in second hand bookshops. She used to read a lot of books in their flat in Lund.

In 1977 they bought their present house. They moved all their bookcases (there were some more by now), and bought some new ones. Over the years their collection of books has grown as well. There have been children’s books, for when they had their children, books they inherited from Bosse’s parents, books about their hobbies and lots of novels as well.

Catharina and Bosse agree that they haven’t organised the books in a particular way. Still, they say that they have always tried to arrange them so that they will look good. They always know where a certain book is.

Now, they are about to move from their house, and have to get rid of some books, as they can’t fit them all into their new, smaller house. Some of the bookcases have to go as well.

Watch the video clip to see how they feel about having to get rid of their bookcases, and some of the books.

The bookcases are now taken care of by the IKEA Museum. We are trying to identify which bookcases they are. Some measuring, weighing and comparing with IKEA catalogues still remain, before we can say for sure what name they have. There were a number of similar bookcases in the beginning of the 1970s. In 1979 the BILLY bookcase was introduced in the catalogue for the first time.

What is your BILLY story? Contribute with your own story here.

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