The queen will lay in upside down comb and Heddon marketed a hive that was designed to do just that. You'll find it advertised in the old bee journals.
I've have all the ABJs from 1886 and it's a common topic.The subject aparently wasn't so much a controversy about it's usefulness as a controversy about patenting it. The Heddon hive had been recently patented and there was much discussion about whether multiple shallow brood boxes had already been done (Heddon's hive was eight frame hives with combs about 4 1/2" deep or so making it similar to two eight frame shallows), whether thumbscrews to anchor the frames so the box could be inverted had been done by others and whether inverting the frames had been done. None seem to contest that Heddon had invented a frame that allowed the comb to be inverted (a frame inside a frame that swiveled).
I found it interesting in light of several discussions that have occured in the past. First they would purposely invert the combs in the brood nest to get the bees to move the honey cap out, prevent swarming and expand the brood nest. Many people on here have said that queens cannot lay in inverted combs, but apparently many people were doing this and there was no mention of any reluctance on the part of the queen to lay in the brood nest, in fact it was done to get her to expand the brood nest. There was also no mention of any problems storing or moving honey with inverted cells.
Here are a couple of quotes from books of the time:
"While the reversing of brood combs will produce no ill effects whatever, numerous are the advantages arising from such reversal; some of which aid us materially in accomplishing the desired results which are partially accomplished in the contracting system, above described.
"When using frames even no deeper than the standard Langstroth, you know how the bees (especially Italians) will persist in crowding the queen by storing honey that ought to go into the surplus department, along the upper edge of the brood combs, just under the top bar, and farther down in the upper corners, till by actual measurement we find that nearly one-fourth of each frame, and sometimes more, is occupied with honey.
"Now if we reverse the frame containing a comb so tilled, we place the honey in an unusual position; in a place usually occupied with brood, and when this is done in the breeding season, when the bees are not inclined to decrease their quantity of brood, this honey will be immediately removed to the surplus department, and soon the frame will be one solid sheet of brood, which is a glad sight to the bee-keeper whose experience has taught him the value of a compact brood nest, free from honey."
Success in Beeculture by James Heddon Pg 85
It seemed a pretty common subject:
"REVERSIBLE BROOD FRAMES.
"The engraving represents the reversible brood-frame made by Mr. James Heddon. Many devices have been presented to reverse the frames, but this is as good as any, where reversing is desired."
Bees and honey, or, The management of an apiary for pleasure and profit by Thomas G. Newman pg 44