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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Expert Offers Tips On Turning Yard Sale Trash Into TreasureCBS Local, May 22nd
She said she recently found an old steamer trunk shelf that was free after being left behind at a tag sale. Knapp covered the inside with fabric, glued that fabric onto cardboard and ended up with a fancy serving tray. To get the best deals, Knapp...Read more
My Imaginary Cape FriendsHuffington Post (satire) (blog), May 21st
I'd probably keep them in a steamer trunk with a label that said, "For the Cape" along with other precious keepsakes. In this alternate universe -- inspired by a J.Crew catalog -- I'm living a fabulous life made rich and meaningful through dazzling get...Read more
Man found new side of wife in writing memoirFort Mills Times, May 19th
Eying the steamer trunk that held Margo's many diaries, Freivalds, of Minneapolis, finally became motivated to open the lid. "I never once thought of diving into them," he said. "Not that I was prohibited to, but we were too busy living our lives. So...Read more
Brattleboro man to give talk on great-grandfather's Civil War memoir, found in ...Brattleboro Reformer, May 18th
Commission, an organization that supplied Union troops with medical services and religious literature. He chronicled his experiences in "Among The Wounded in 1864," which Gilmer Twombly discovered in the 1980s inside a steamer trunk he had...Read more
LIBRARY HOSTS CIVIL WAR TALKBrattleboro Reformer, May 16th
BRATTLEBORO -- Brooks Memorial Library hosts "Among the Wounded 1864," a Civil War talk by David Twombly on Wednesday, May 22, at 7 p.m., in the Meeting Room. Found in an old steamer trunk years ago, "Among the Wounded" in 1864 was written by...Read more
The fantastical hats of Dr. Seuss set to land at Laguna BeachLos Angeles Times, May 15th
At first glance the display seems almost like a lid let-down; it's essentially a steamer trunk the size of a walk-in closet -- although one so filled to overflowing with hats, the Seuss estate, the staff of the Children's Reading Room and the dozen...Read more
Lecture Series Announced for Out of this World! Jewelry in the Space AgePR Web (press release), May 13th
The diary was recovered from a steamer trunk found in a dumpster outside of Koppel's apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The non-fiction book is based on Koppel's New York Times City section cover story. The lectures are free but a...Read more
Opinion | Jon Garelick Crowded stageBoston Globe, May 11th
The only props are an antique steamer trunk, a couple of box-like cubes, and, downstage, three coat racks loaded with costumes. Over the course of 90 minutes, the three actors (two men and a woman) will play a combined 40 roles. The set and cast number...Read more