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Brass antique trunk lock... George Washington??

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    Posted 7 years ago

    (32 items)

    I've been collecting trunks for almost 40 years now and recently bought a nice Jenny Lind style trunk with this great brass lock. I'm pretty certain it's from the late 1850's to 1860's. It is very well made, with the center parts being cast brass attached to the brass lock plate. You have to push George in just the right way to get that piece to move to the right as it's on a special spring latch inside. I've seen a variety of this type lock, but never one with what appears to be George Washington. At least that's who it looks like to me... let me know what you think! I hope the pictures are good enough to see the details, such as his uniform. Thanks!

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    1. bjb5859 bjb5859, 7 years ago
      Very nice Marvin,and Yes It does look like George.
      Maybe one of a kind
      Nice find!!
    2. jscott0363 jscott0363, 7 years ago
      Marvin, that is definitely a unique looking lock. I've seen a lot of trunk locks, but not one like this. Incredible!!
    3. trunkman trunkman, 7 years ago
      Wow -- incredible!! I wonder what is symbolized by what he is holding in his hands... looks like a scroll in one and maybe a bugle in the other? Just fascinating.
    4. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      Wonderful lock Marvin,A nice Bust of General George Washington in Military uniform,to include shoulder boards, sword handle(sword unseen),and the scroll of the Declaration of Independence for symbolic meaning,complete with flourishes.That would be my take on it. I love it, thanks for the treat.
    5. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 7 years ago
      Drill..... by George, I think you're right! I think all of that symbolism is included and hadn't thought of all that. Thanks for the loves and comments Drill, Trunkman, Fatboy64, CindB, KathyKay, jscott, DrFluffy, and aghcollect!
    6. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      Hey Marvin,When you zoom the 1st photo to as large as you can it appears to have the number 82 right under the belt buckle. Wondering if this is the case?I could be wrong. I always tend to look for Masonic symbols when it comes to paintings or sculptures of George,or any of the founding Masonic fathers.It did dawn on me that it could also be a Masonic scroll that he is holding , and the masons trowel is unseen,not the sword.Thats what makes George such an interesting find.
    7. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      Here is a picture of a masonic crest From the Washington Masonic Memorial
      A few similarities to the arch and brass flourishes.Many Pictures of George Washington In his masonic role consistently have him under an Arch.Neat stuff!
    8. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      What would be really neat is if it was a William Bell trunk.(Not saying that it is but a canny resemblance ) The only trunk manufacturer image That I can find with George Washington( from HMS trunk label collection) front and center on the label.
    9. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 7 years ago
      Drill, it's a possibility that the trunk is a William Bell as the owner had gotten it in the Boston area many years ago. But the interior had been cleaned out and then relined with fabric, so I'll never know for sure. I know that there are many early images of Washington with masonic emblems and symbols, but I think this looks more like a sword handle and I just think the scroll would mean more to most people as the Declaration of Independence, but who knows. I appreciate the information and links. Actually I had helped Jim at HMS put together a large collection of labels and at least half of them came from me, but I never got any credit. I have the Bell label in my large collection also but just didn't make that connection yet. Thanks again, it is very interesting and I love the details and history of these trunks.
    10. Drill Drill, 7 years ago
      I agree ,I too think it is just the declaration and sword. I have always appreciated your input and work. Surely credit for your years of trunk research ,as well as being one of the first and most knowledgable in the field is long overdue. You should know that you and your website(there were others as well) are one of the main reasons I got interested in collecting trunks about 13 years back. I thank you,my wife does not!
    11. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 7 years ago
      Thanks Drill, I appreciate the comment! I'm very glad that some of the research and restoration information I've provided has been helpful to others and I started years ago trying to find the true historical information about trunks because I was finding that there was a lot of "bad" information floating around and not many people knew any real history of the trunks and makers. It's been exciting to me to learn so much, not just about trunks, but about American history and industry along the way. Sorry to hear your wife isn't so thrilled, but I understand that too!
    12. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 7 years ago
      Thanks for the loves everyone!
    13. SteveCento SteveCento, 9 months ago
      I found this same chest lock plate while metal detecting. The back piece is not complete but the key lock cover section is. Thanks for the info on it
    14. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 8 months ago
      Hi SteveCento, that's very interesting. As of now, I have never seen another lock plate like this one, but I expect there could be more out there somewhere. That's interesting that you found one by metal detecting! Thanks
    15. SteveCento SteveCento, 8 months ago
      I’m new to this site so I don’t know if I can post a photo in the comment, or not.
    16. TrunkerMarvin TrunkerMarvin, 8 months ago
      I'm not sure if you can add a photo here either. But you can send one to me directly at Thanks

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