Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Personalized Trunk

I have said many times before how much I like restoring trunks.   No two trunks that come through our doors look the same.  There are often key similarities which help to determine age, quality, maker, etc.  But each trunk we see is different.  Partly due to manufacture, partly due to time and experiences.  This trunk has had 'G.W.M  Oakland CA' printed in black on the left side.  

Imagine for a moment the scene at the airport where everyone is standing around the conveyor belt waiting for their piece of luggage that looks unique but also somehow exactly the same as everyone else's.   To make sure one's luggage is easily spotted, people will tie bright bits of ribbon or string on the handles, or buy a bizarre bright color of strapping to wrap around it.  Now lets go back 100 years to the station, or dock and imagine that great pile of trunks that have just come off the train, or ship.  You would want your trunk to be easily recognizable.  So you stamp your initials and hometown prominently on the side so that everyone knows that that trunk belongs to G.W.M of Oakland, CA.

Despite it's travels, this trunk is still in good condition.  There were no major repairs that needed to be made, and it's current owner was fine with a worn, aged appearance.  We did need to remove that horrible carpet from the inside though.  Trunks were originally all lined with paper, and occasionally with cloth.  This one was paper lined and the lid paper was still in ok shape, but at some point someone had a not so brilliant idea of lining the box with shag carpeting.  Unfortunately this meant the nice wooden tray no longer fit in the trunk.  So we removed all that and sealed the inside.  Then we cleaned the entire trunk and treated it with Tung oil.  This oil will protect the wood and metal and really gave it a beautiful deep luster without giving it a 'new' appearance.    

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