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Early Hide Covered Trunk

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    Posted 6 years ago

    rdhoush
    (9 items)

    I have a small collection of steamer trunks that I have reconditioned and am always looking for unusual trunks to add to my collection...Recently I purchased a hide covered trunk from a local antique dealer...it was in really rough shape.....all the hair was gone but the rawhide was intact and it had all original hand forged hardware. The original raw hide hinges were attached but were torn away...(metal hinges had been added but are very old) I could tell it was early and though I had never attempted to recondition a trunk of this era...I wanted to try to bring it back to life....being an old horse guy.....I had worked with saddle/tack/raw hide before so I felt I could bring it back possibly...it measures 23 in. x 11 in. x 9 in.....most of the brass tacks are still in place (hand made)...the lock appears to be original but has no key...The hasp is an unusual design.......the interior was also intact (possibly chestnut) and the inside of the lid appeared to have been burned at some point...I found the residue of some kind of paper in the interior...there are no identifying marks on the wood or hardware that I could find...the trunk was not ornate and the hardware seemed to be installed in a very primitive manner...which makes me think it was not made by a trunk maker which also may indicate it is a very early piece.....after some research I have not seen another trunk exactly like it...........I traced it back to a collector from Colorado who had a large collection that was sold in an estate sale around 2013.....this trunk ended up in an auction in WV where it was purchased by the local dealer where I purchased it.....I really love it....I regret I have not been able to find some of its story.....It has been suggested by some that it was a document box, strong box, stage coach trunk, made in England possibly, Revolutionary War era possibly. I am at a loss......I am hoping that you might be able to shed some light on its origin and possible use......any thoughts you may have will be appreciated.....my children love it.....so I am sure it will be a favorite in my family for many years to come.........it was an honor for me to have breathed some new life into this wonderful piece...... Thanks,
    Randy

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    Comments

    1. Drill Drill, 6 years ago
      Wonderful old hide trunk,Thank you for the post,Hard to tell who made it. The oldest American Trunk manufacturer that I have been Able to find can find is" Zechariah Hicks" starting out about 1763 up in Boston. Mr. Hicks does come to my mind.

      http://p2.la-img.com/747/19199/6507403_1_l.jpg

      Here are two examples of similar designs .And a label. The hand forged hardware
      is definitely early.

      http://thumbs1.picclick.com/d/w1600/pict/381210123180_/18th-Century-
      Zechariah-Hicks-Boston-Wood-Leather-Document.jpg

      http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/n58AAOSwstxVD4rJ/_57.JPG?rt=nc



    2. Drill Drill, 6 years ago
      http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTIwMFgxNjAw/z/QaMAAOSw-W5UzkSR/_57.JPG?rt=nc

      Here is a label. (hopefully the link works) .Incidentally Zechariah Hicks trunk company eventually was taken over by Henry W. Winship .Hicks early trunk works were said to have wrought iron locks and handles. Other early trunk makers wereCharles McBurney, George Donnett, and Samuel Gray. These are a few of the earliest makers,Hicks being the oldest. The record keeping in early America was not the best.Most early trunk makers were saddlers and harness makers first,thus the iron hardware. Much luck with it.
    3. rdhoush, 6 years ago
      Much thanks Drill......wonderful information..........the links were quite helpful.....hopefully I can piece together the possibilities .......to add to its lore....I was very fortunate to have found it........if it only talk.....what a story it could tell....Thanks again....Randy

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