Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Last one for a while

In Furniture > Trunks > Show & Tell.
JonB's items5 of 6Bureau trunkNew addiction
Love it
Like it

trunkingforfuntrunkingforfun loves this.
miKKoChristmas11miKKoChristmas11 loves this.
ManikinManikin loves this.
SEAN68SEAN68 loves this.
officialfuelofficialfuel loves this.
trunkmantrunkman loves this.
jscott0363jscott0363 loves this.
See 5 more
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.

    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

    Posted 8 years ago

    (6 items)

    Good morning
    This is the second chest I picked up and the last one I have questions about, until I get my next one. Ok, let me see if I can properly use everything I have learned from this site. It’s a barrel-stave trunk with a front and back single beveled slat but without slat clamps. It has a paper covering with a thin binding and has a star lock with two unknown manufactured latches. There are no patent dates exposed, I have yet to disassemble anything off of the trunk. I did not memorize all of this; I have been checking, yet again, every post on this site as well as Jim’s site and this old trunk in order to try and identify. Not shown, a lid stay on the right side. Having said this I am guessing it is a lower cast trunk built or assembled no earlier than the mid-1870, based on it having a lid stay. I just do not understand why it does not have slat clamps.
    Please let me know what I have wrong or missed as trying to figure these things out is like a second treasure hunt, the first is finding them. I have ordered the book that jscott recommended and cannot wait to start the refinishing and then keep this one forever. I am truly enjoying my new found passion and am just trying to learn all I can. At this rate I should be at Jim's level in 137 more years.
    Again, thank all of you for the help and welcome yesterday.

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

    See all
    Antique Trunk & Chest-Restoration Hardware-Leather Handles & Fasteners--U-Kit
    Antique Trunk & Chest-Restoration H...
    Antique Vintage Steamer Trunk Bar W/Accessories GORGEOUS!!
    Antique Vintage Steamer Trunk Bar W...
    Antique Wood Doll Trunk Childs Miniatures Storage Chest LOTS of Clothing & Dolls
    Antique Wood Doll Trunk Childs Mini...
    Antique Trunk & Chest-Restoration Hardware-Leather Handles & Fasteners--U-Kit
    Antique Trunk & Chest-Restoration H...
    See all


    1. JonB, 8 years ago
      Forgot the measurements: 32 W / 17 D / 19 1/2 H
    2. jscott0363 jscott0363, 8 years ago
      JonB, Another nice one!! A lot of trunks were covered in paper during, and after, the civil war, as leather was in short supply during the war. Few survived with the paper intact. I have a barrel stave trunk that I restored about 5 years ago. I had to strip what remaining paper off of the trunk and finish the wood. I'll post it on CW soon.
      Jim, Trunkman or Drill could tell you when this was made and a little more about it.
      Most trunkers end up stripping the remaining paper from their trunks and refinishing the wood. There are some really beautiful ones out there.
      I've found that it is not uncommon for some manufacturers not to use slat clamps on their trunks. I have a few myself. Checkout all of the trunks that the other trunkers have restored on CW. There are some very impressive trunks on CW.
      I've restored several myself, not near as many as others on CW have. You've started your collection with some really choice trunks.
    3. trunkman trunkman, 8 years ago
      Nice one JonB. Seems you have studied well as your dating and understanding of terms is bang on. Jscott -- there is some debate on whether trunks were paper covered due to a leather shortage -- we do know that lower quality trunks were often paper covered and the higher quality ones were canvas then bumped up to leather. We are so fortunate to have several well versed trunkers to keep us informed and on the learning curve... makes this hobby all the more interesting.
    4. jscott0363 jscott0363, 8 years ago
      Thanks Trunkman! I've been doing to much internet reading again. No one has really given me a straight answer on the paper covered trunks, over the years. They just keep telling me the same ole story about leather being in short supply during the Civil war. So, I'm glad to finally hear a different theory on this for a change. That's one of the things I love about CW is the wealth of knowledge floating around out there.
    5. JonB, 8 years ago
      jscott - I do plan on stripping off the paper but will wait until the book you sugested arrives so I can educate myself a little more.
      Trunkman - Thanks for checking on my terminology. From everything I have read it will take a while to get a good foundation. I have noticed that missing even a small point will lead me down the wrong rabbit hole.
    6., 8 years ago
      JonB. Thanks for the complement, I hope it doesn't take you 137 years, but sometimes it sure does feel like it. Your trunk was sold as a very inexpensive trunk, which is why it does not have slat clamps, and is covered in paper. I have catalogs showing similar trunks as late as the 1912. Paper covered trunks have been around since at least the early 1860's and I personally don't believe the Civil war had anything to do with it. Paper covered trunks are part of the progression of trunks and they filled a need for an inexpensive alternative to leather or oil cloth covered trunks. Yes, leather consumption was up due to the war, but likewise was leather production. The fact remains that the majority of trunks we see from the 1860's are covered in leather. Is that because most of the trunks sold were leather, or because those who bought leather trunks could afford them, and took better care of the then did their paper covered owners? Chicken-egg. However, just because it sounds good (war = leather shortage = paper covered trunks) does not mean it is true. Because these changed little over time it is difficult to say how old your trunk is, but I believe it is later than you believe. Those latches are from a Sessions patent of 1882, and I believe if you look at the lock escutcheon you will see patent dates of "77" and possibly "91". A look at the inside will give clues as well as the lithographs changed over time.
    7. Drill Drill, 8 years ago
      I'm in agreement with you Jim, Only people have to realize that from 1861 to1865 there was not only a leather shortage but ironically also a severe paper shortage mainly in the south .Major paper Paper mills had burned during the civil war/as well as other infrastructure.War is just that way! The price of paper was high and for a time the south was printing newspapers on old wallpaper to get the news out. At the beginning of the civil war union and confederate soldiers had the same color leather shoes,(black) by the end of the war confederate shoes were brown. there were shortages of black dye. In addition many of the confederate shoes issued had wooden soles due to leather shortages /Tannery goods. Much of the shortages were in the south but not all. Shortages were based on region and what was produced. I agree with Jim It was the progression of trunks, and I always keep in mind the least cost production Method of capitalism(cheaper alternative/faster to produce )Thus another sprocket in the wheel of the great industrial revolution.
    8. JonB, 8 years ago
      Jim and drill
      Thank you very much for the education on not just my trunk but for my knowledge. It seems strange that there is no difinative book to go to for answers. I am not complaining as I like learning from the experance of others. As I mentioned, it is like a treasure hunt just trying to find the information until I can collect enough of my own.
    9. Drill Drill, 8 years ago
      JonB, your curiosity is the best. Goggle:( Luggage leather goods and umbrellas 1908)
      let me know when your done. I'll give you more! Research! Research! Knowledge is the treasure hunt! like Jim C., Marvin M. and others that came before.(And it is O.K. to disagree! Someone always should ask the why,? and what if's? When we question we learn.)Another thought, why do I need to put slat clamps on the trunk,the slats are under the edge binding and I (the maker)tapered the wood to
      accommodate the end grain and accept the slat!Look at the construction of a Jenny Lind with slats(not all have them,an earlier design) how did Jennys travel as opposed to larger saratoga style.More horse and carriage(the beginning of trains,Small riverboat steamships up the hudson, or Erie canal(east of the Mississippi river) lets say,as opposed to Union pacific trains,encouraging the westward expansion of America(west of the Mississippi) . with brutal baggage handlers and later large steamers bound from the European continent!Just Guessing again! As Jim said, the natural progression of trunks.Slat clamps, made sure your s@%T was strong bouncing the F@%K all over the planet earth. Sorry!
      Rambling! P.S. I'm No expert, those are the ones positive there were weapons of mass destruction,Lets go to war!And Fracking for natural gas is all OK!
    10. JonB, 8 years ago
      Thanks, I only had about 45 spare minutes and kept looking at all the adds. Pretty cool stuff and I will return to it and, now that I know what a good source of research looks like, more of the same from the 1800s.
      I now understand about the slats but more importantly, some of the thinking that went into different eras and different grades of trunks. Having said that, I am sure there are many exceptions AND fashion must play a part of this somehow.

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.