Antique trunks, also called traveling chests, were originally used as luggage for extended trips by stagecoach, train, or steamship. Today, given the weight limitations on airplanes and the new, lightweight wheeled luggage available, most people use these old trunks as furniture—chests for storing things like blankets, linens, papers, and other memorabilia.
Antique chests, unlike trunks, were always designed for storage and were never intended for travel. The earliest examples commonly found today are from the Victorian Era. Generally the interior box is made of a wood like pine and then lined with materials intended to protect and decorate. Early Victorian trunks are upholstered, much like the furniture of the time, with studded hide or leather. Later, trunks were covered with paper, canvas, or plain or embossed tin. They were typically reinforced with hardwood slats and metal hardware, and locked with a key.
Most trunks fall into two categories: domed and flat-top. Domed trunks have high arched lids that range from camel-back to hump-back to barrel-top varieties. Flat-top trunks, or ...
Other types of trunks include monitor-tops, barrel-staves, and bevel-tops. Jenny Lind trunks get their name from a Swedish singer who toured America with P.T. Barnum, carrying just such a trunk. Only made between 1855 and 1865, these trunks have a keyhole shape when looked at from the side.
Saratoga was the name used by many manufacturers for their top-of-the-line trunks. These trunks are known for their serious hardware and complex compartments and trays inside. Large wardrobe trunks are meant to be stood on one end when opened. Inside, one side has drawers while the other is a void so the traveler has a place to hang clothes. Some of these are equipped with interior straps to hold shoes, briefcases, curtains, vanity mirrors, and makeup cases.
Wall trunks have special hinges so that, when open, it can stand flat against the wall. Dresser trunks, also called pyramid trunks, are a particularly coveted form of wall trunk. Perhaps the most desired kind of trunks of all, though, are the ones covered in thin oak slats, placed side-by-side. These were extremely prestigious trunks, made in dome-top, flat-top, and bevel-top styles.
Well-known malletiers (trunk makers) include Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Moynat, Haskell Brothers, M. M. Secor, Leatheroid, Clinton, Hartmann, Oshkosh, Molloy, Truesdale, and Taylor. La Malle Bernard and Seward Trunk Company are still making trunks while Shwayder Trunk Company of Denver, Colorado, became the luggage firm Samsonite.
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Recent News: Trunks
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Spector: Blackhawks enter desperation modeSportsnet.ca, June 18th
So why will Chicago be able to get the handcuffs off, then the straight jacket, and unlock the steamer trunk from the inside, then swim to the surface before they drown in Boston Harbour the same way that Pittsburgh did? “We'll do it,” was all Bolland...Read more
A taste of Buffalo's rich Italian heritageBuffalo News, June 17th
that it can't stand up in its own,” she said. “I have to come up with some way to secure it.” Then she paused, thinking. “I'd also be interested in anything that adds to the flavor of the immigrants' life,” she said. “I have a steamer trunk, but...Read more
Seibertron.com Energon Pub Forumsseibertron.com, June 16th
I am refinishing a steamer trunk 100+ years old. I want to remove the old travel stickers that are on the outside canvas temporarily so I can paint the canvas. Once done, put them back on. What are some suggestions on how to remove the stickers safely...Read more
Armstrong's past told through story and songVernon Morning Star, June 16th
Ashton became familiar with Morris' story after an old steamer trunk was found in a barn belonging to the Docksteader family. The trunk, which was bequeathed to the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Museum, contained fabulous pictures of Morris in his stage ...Read more
Best LuggageLA Magazine, June 14th
?What's more iconic when it comes to glamorous travel than a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk? Each is still made by hand, using the same techniques dating back centuries. The brand may be a status symbol, but its products are a link to old-world...Read more
Dik-dik on the adeudeu, or sting in WesthavenTimes-Standard, June 13th
The skin had lain forgotten in a steamer trunk for at least half a century, until recently when extra cash was needed to replace the defective plumbing under the house. Also, it may be significant for the reader to understand that the old man and...Read more
TCHC in no hurry to repair leaky roof: The FixerToronto Star, June 12th
He stands on a steamer trunk under the hole, reaches into it and scrapes out handfuls of black sludge, so the water that drips into the six buckets and pots he sets out below isn't so foul and dirty. “There's this guck up there” that never dries out...Read more
Arab-Americans Discover Forefathers in Little SyriaAl-Monitor, June 11th
“There was this steamer trunk, and on the side of it was written: '1662 Washington St.' I opened it and found hundreds of pictures, documents and postcards, all perfectly preserved,” Antoun recalled. He had unearthed part of the lost history of Little...Read more