WHAT-NOT, a piece of furniture, derived from the French itagere, which was exceedingly popular in England in the first three-quarters of the 19th century. It usually consists of slender uprights or pillars, supporting a series of shelves for holding china, ornaments or trifles of any kind hence the allusive name. In its English form, although a convenient drawing-room receptacle, it was rarely beautiful. The early mahogany examples are, however, sometimes graceful in their simplicity.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)