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Inherited Steamer Trunk

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    Posted 10 months ago

    (1 item)

    Hello! My name is Mackenzie. I just inherited this steamer trunk and would love to know a little more about it, or confirm what the family story is!
    This trunk belonged to my great-great grandfather, John Pearsons and (from what i’m told) it came with him from Sweden through Ellis Island. Ending up in Auburn, Washington where my family has lived since before my grandmother was born in the 1930s. I don’t think my family was very well off so i’m not expecting it to be a national treasure, but it is certainly a treasure to me.

    It is covered in a layer of (what I assume to be) tin. with wooden slats going vertically across the trunk front and lid, and horizontal wood slats on the sides and back.

    If you happen to recognize any parts, or the style I would absolutely love to have any of that knowledge so I can share it with my family!

    It was used heavily in its day so is in pretty bad shape with the leather straps on the sides torn off, pieces of metal bent or broken, and quite a bit of rust. I hope to gently clean the rust off of all the metal and sand and stain (or maybe beeswax?) the wood so it can at least be preserved a bit longer. I am researching the best way to do this now, but if you have advice, or products you have loved and used, i’d love to hear from you as well!

    Thank you

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    1. greendog greendog, 10 months ago
      Well first things first, not a steamer trunk, the correct term is Barrel top travel trunk and it is American made, millions of these trunks were sent to Europe by American trunk makers, they were bought by people emigrating to American back in the late 1800's your trunk is a cross slat design top slats running front to back with metal slat clamps patented in 1880, the front latches which you are missing part of the left one were patented in 1872 but were used for decades, the gray looking tin had a crystallized tin finish on it at one time probably gold as it was the most popular color but there were others, the middle latch is not original to the trunk, the original was probably broke off due to being locked and having no key, it is in rough shape, I wish you luck with it.
    2. Drill Drill, 10 months ago
      I Agree completely with Greendog, it's American made. Below is a patent image for the 1880 cross slat design that he pointed out.
      Thanks for the post.
    3. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 10 months ago
      And I was just fixing to call Greendog for "clean-up" in aisle 1. LOL
    4. mkenz1, 10 months ago
      Thanks so much for the information! I really appreciate it

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