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Small Slat Trunk - Salesman Sample or Doll Trunk?

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Drill's loves518 of 5251878 Martin Maier Trunk question about restoring.Large Ornate Trunk
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    Posted 7 years ago

    (53 items)

    Add this small trunk to my collection it is build like the large slat trunks. Assume it is a salesman sample but could be a dolls trunk not sure if they made these in small size for dolls. In the pictures a can was added for size reference. In the process of replacing the missing parts on the inside, needs a tray and the drop down in the lid is missing. On the outside just cleaning it up, adding new handles and lid lift. This measures 14 inches long by almost 10 inches at the tallest point. There is an eagle stamped on the brass keyhole cover. Well made small trunk that will be displayed with my full size one when I get them both finished. Does anyone know if they made these as doll trunks or is this a salesman sample?

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    1. trunkman trunkman, 7 years ago
      Wow -- what a spectacular find!!!! I have read somewhere along the way that they did not make salesman samples of trunks... but there are always exceptions. Regardless, even as a child's trunk this is exceptional. To have to scale this down to balance was the work of a real craftsman. I have never seen a small wood slat trunk like this. I will be interested to hear from our other well versed trunkies out there. Great find!!
    2. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      A toy trunk is the probable answer. Very few true salesman's trunks were distributed. This information is gone over in great detail by Marvin Miller at This Old trunk .com in the guestbook forum. He explains exactly why most are toy trunks and not sample trunks. Having said this -I have seen this model trunk smaller -12" long 10"wide 8" ht. listed on Ebay six months ago as a salesman's trunk.
      With the similar size Jenny Lind straight sided trunk.The pictures appeared to be taken on a bed spread cute as could be.$ 800 each. I had them bookmarked but unfortunately deleted them. I did look on pinterest to see if someone smarter than my dumb ass had pinned them . no luck. The luck of finding these out there( unreal) great find. keep up the good work. Marvin Miller and Jim Cardoza are the real experts to speak with about this find.They kind of catalog these things for the rest of us and their research is of great importance seek them out they know what is rare and what is not.
    3. KathyKay, 7 years ago
      Drill thanks for the information. I have seen these from time to time on e-bay they are hard to find, not to many out there.
    4. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 7 years ago
      Hi KathyKay,
      Love your mini oak slat trunk! That's a great find as these are very hard to find. I see my name was mentioned by Drill, and it's true I had studied this question for a long time (I also own a couple of these small slat trunks in excellent condition in my collection, one in 14" and one 12", otherwise they are nearly identical) with the same brass lock. I am pretty certain the lock with the eagle was made by the Eagle Lock Company. Even though these were made nearly identical to the larger slat trunks, I still believe they could have been made as toys, hey there were some wealthier customers who bought the more expensive items for their kids, just like today. But I do think it is possible that some of these well made miniature trunks could have been used as samples, possibly in a retail trunk store as a counter sample for potential customers to see and then place an order for the full size trunks. We may never know for certain, but I do have proof from old trunk catalogs that some very high quality and very detailed toy trunks were made. As an example, the large toy trunk I recently listed on this site., which I believe you have seen. There were many more very simple and inexpensive toy or doll trunks made. Those were definitely not "salesman's samples" as they don't serve any purpose to show customers the features of a real full size trunk. These small slat trunks also had the small leather tag on the front of the lid, with the marking of "Excelsior Patent Jan. 7, 1868". just like many of the large trunks. Many times this leather tag is missing, but you will see the two nail holes where they were attached. I see the two small holes on your trunk, one with the nail still in it. The inner trays on these trunks was quite detailed also with a lift out hat box. Every one of these that I have seen was lined with white paper and usualluy a couple small pictures or Victorian die-cuts. These also had leather handles which were held on with strips of leather. If you would like some detailed pictures of the small trunks I have just email and I will be glad to send some. It can help to see what the originals looked like if you are trying to restore the missing items. Enjoy your trunk! Marvin
    5. KathyKay, 7 years ago
      TrunkerMarvin I would love some detailed pictures of your restored mini slat trunks. I plan on restoring this one, I started on it but could use pictures of a completed one. The tray is missing in this one so have to get one made as are the handles. As you said on the side I can see the nails that were used to hold the handles in place so I had planned on using leather strips to hold the replacements. At the Brimfield Antique show in Brimfield Mass I've seen a few of these fully restored over the years, they are rare and you don't see them often. Agree sure they were made special for the wealthy who wanted one for their child. I only seen 4 over the years and each one was a little different but the lock on this one was the same as the others I've seen. I send my e-mail information via your web page.
    6. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 7 years ago
      KathyKay, yes, please email me at and I can send some pictures for you. Marvin
    7. Tangoes Tangoes, 5 years ago
      Hi, please delete my comment I need to correct the spelling thanks.

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