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U. S. Army Trunk?

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Trunks1040 of 2539Any idea what kind of chest this is? 1909 steamer truck-never seen one with so many compartments!
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    Posted 5 years ago

    (813 items)

    Stencil sprayed(?) on the trunk is G. Vanderwest, then something I cannot quite make out (F. ? LTtd? F. A.?), and then U. S. Army. Also, what I think is 2 guns?

    Made by Totty Trunk & Bag Co., Inc. of Petersburg, V.A. Government Contractors. Metal sliders on bottom.
    Lock by Corbin Cabinet Lock Co. of New Britain, Connecticut.
    Lock is also locked, and something small (key?) is inside the trunk.
    Help opening it? (The screwdrivers were for opening a bell box, not the trunk).

    I'm hoping to know more on Mr. Vanderwest and when this trunk is from?
    The wood is cracking a bit. What do I treat it with to nourish it, not damaging the paint? Also, to remove splattered paint-- what do I use? There's some ugly green on the corner.

    Thank you for any help you can give.

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    1. ravage60 ravage60, 5 years ago
      I don't know what the first "F" is for. The rest in the middle line is 14th Field Artillery. The is what the F and A stand for.
      Which probably means it's WWII.
    2. ravage60 ravage60, 5 years ago
      Locks on foot lockers are usually very easily picked. At least I've never had a problem. Try things like a stiff metal wire, a smaller key. It will usually take two items to open it. One in the upper part straight ahead and one in the lower part to manipulate that part. Be inventive. Floss pick. Very small screwdriver.
    3. trunkman trunkman, 5 years ago
      Neat army footlocker. You can use paint remover to clean off some old paint but be careful with it because you want to keep the overall patina of this trunk. Some tung oil may help the wood a bit but its veneer and once cracked --- well -- and tung oil will darken the trunk a bit just fyi.
    4. SpiritBear, 5 years ago
      Ravage60, that will help research the man and open the trunk (hopefully). Thank you.

      TrunkMan, thank you.
    5., 5 years ago
      The (cracked) covering is not wood, but rather it is Vulcanized fiber. It is quite durable, and you can try cleaning it with a mild detergent. Generally, this style of lock required a key to lock/unlock it. Look carefully on the lock and you should find a key code which you may find a key for on ebay, or Island trunk shop. Worst case scenario, you carefully pull out the 3 nails holding the lower portion of the lock and gain access. These are easy to replace.
      Hope this helps,
    6. SpiritBear, 5 years ago
      HMSAntiqueTrunks, thank you very much.
    7. Drill Drill, 5 years ago
      Maybe check into the 14th Field Artillery's home page.There you will find it's history and it's former members there.This will be your best chance into researching it's former owner. There is also a long history with unit crest insignia all of it's history and war time campaigns etc. on wikipedia.much luck with it.
    8. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago

      The "F" is his Battery-- similar to company, but a field artillery term.

      The crossed cannons also represent the Field Artillery.

      The latches and Totty tag look like pre- WW2.

    9. SpiritBear, 5 years ago
      Drill, Scottvez, that is helpful. Thank you both.
    10. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
      The 14th FA was around during the inter war years, so it may be a little harder to track down your guy even though he has an unusual name.

    11. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
      I just checked on WW2 enlisted records and it shows two "Vanderwest" listed:

      Neither has "G." as a first initial, but one has "G." as a middle initial. I don't think either of these guys is your guy. If you assume an initial (or first name) was rubbed off, the center alignment would be way off on the stencil. Also it would be very unusual to put a middle initial (in a first name spot) on your footlocker.

      Both of these guys are from Kalamazoo, so it would be a good start point for research on your guy.

    12. Drill Drill, 5 years ago
      Totty trunk co. was one of many manufacturers that was awarded contracts for the over 96,000 trunks that the government needed. The bids ($14.56 was Totty's bid) were submitted July 18/1920 according to an article in Luggage and leather goods trade journal.That would put it in the Interwar period which scottvez has mentioned.
    13. SpiritBear, 5 years ago
      Thank you both for all your help!

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