From a 1903 issue of Appleton’s Magazine:
Men and Crockery
Once upon a day I visited that magnificent store of Marshall Field & Co. in Chicago. I was being conducted over the place by Mr. Selfridge, one of the partners and managers of the institution. We were passing through the Glassware Department and had stopped for a moment to examine a case of rare and beautiful treasures. Near-by a man was standing on a stepladder adjusting the lights of a chandelier that was just above the case of glassware. We passed along, but had not gone twenty feet before there was a terrific crash, and as I turned and looked back I saw that the man on the ladder had lost his balance and fallen directly into the case, not only wrecking it completely, but evidently smashing everything in it. As the luckless fellow scrambled to his feet, Selfridge said, “Oh, he’s not hurt — as I was just saying “… and he continued the conversation and we walked along just as if a thousand dollars worth of Belgium art treasures had not been smashed into smithereens.