Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clues to your Antique Trunk's Age

Trunk #1
 We have 6 trunks in our shop right now, possibly a record for us.  We love working on trunks though so this is fun for us.  One of them has been completely taken apart so had I taken pictures of it, you would have just seen a plain wood  box and a pile of parts.  So I left it out this time.

Trunk #2
 With so many trunks in our shop, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could find out some history about each one.  So I have been flipping through my 'history  books' and investigating hardware and tin, end caps, etc.

Trunk #3
Trunks 1-3 are very similar, displaying the same style of design and hardware.  They are all most likely made between 1870 and 1885.  Trunk #1 and Trunk #3 have the same clasps on the front, with Trunk #2 only having a very slight variation.  Trunk #2 seems, by it's hardware to be just a little newer than the other to.  But probably only by a few years.  You can see the clasps below...
Trunk #1                     Trunk #2                    Trunk #3
While their clasps are so similar,  the handles are all completely different!

 Again, Trunk #1 and Trunk #3, while having different hardware this time, have the same style of handle, called an 'Anchor Style'.  Since the leather is gone in #3 it is hard to tell, but try and imagine the same shape of  leather as #1, fitting into that fancy hardware.  Trunk #2 has a 'Slotted Style' handle with an end cap that holds the handle onto the trunk.  Another small hint that this trunk is just a few years newer that the other two.

Trunk #4

Trunks #4 and #5 are very different than the other 3.  Trunk #4 has a metal covering over the wood.  The metal is embossed with an alligator skin print, has a curved top, and wooden slats.  The metal covering, pared with the hardware give us very good clues to when this trunk was made.  The handles are in a style called 'Plain Style w/ End Cap' which is different from any of the other trunks we have in right now.  So as to the era, we have seen pictures of trunks with this exact same hardware, and embossed metal, which were built in 1890.  So this trunk is very old, but still a bit newer then those shown above. 

Trunk #5
 Finally, Trunk #5.  This one came to us already restored, but just needing a new lock and handles.  This one looks almost new!  It was restored probably about 50 years ago and given an interesting camouflage(ish) paint job.   To try and figure out the age of a trunk, you can look at many factors, the most enlightening being  the material it was made out of,  it's shape and size,  and the hardware used.  This trunk displays hardware and styling of a trunk made between 1900 and 1925, but because of it's large size, it most likely dates during the earlier part of that era.

So tell me, have you learned anything new by reading this?   I would love to help you discover more about the treasures you have hiding away at home.  Bring them in to us! Give us a challenge!

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