Anyway, the thing about these drawers is that they don't have a back. There's a sprung clip that holds the papers down when you slide the drawer in. Any idea if this sort of thing is available or what else might work?
In answer to the question "Why not just put a back on the drawer?" Well, I'm not sure why *they* didn't (maybe just because it's easier to pull the file that way?), but the way this shop was using theirs was an impressive demonstration of why my wife wouldn't want one. You can slide the drawers in backwards and have a little display shelf sticking out.
I have some pictures on the digital camera of the actual specimen, but haven't uploaded them yet. The (near as I can tell) exact same drawer design, with a clear view of the hardware I'm looking for, can be seen at http://www.officemuseum.com/Amberg_Letter_File_Cabinet_with_1878_patent_inside_drawer_OM.jpg
The actual cabinet isn't shown on this site, but you can see some examples of similar designs (actually I think the closest is the "Shannon Filing Cabinet" if you pretend it's only three drawers wide) at http://www.officemuseum.com/filing_equipment_cabinets.htm
That said, I'm actually considering construction more like the "Globe Combination or Sectional File" http://www.officemuseum.com/Globe_Filing_Cabinet_antiquarian_traders_1_OM.JPG
from that same page and integrating it with a modular barrister bookcase project I've had on the back burner (awaiting space time and money). But that doesn't resolve the issue of making the drawers.