My newest storage container is also my oldest - I bought this vintage trunk for my family room instead of another filing cabinet or plastic tub. It should be able to hold a lot, but mostly I love it for it's treasure chest feel. (And my children like it too.)
This trunk was waiting at a resale shop for several weeks, tempting me. I decided it was one of the nicest trunk I had ever seen, or was likely to see for sale (since I don't collect trunks), and so I finally gave in and bought it for just under $50.
The history I imagine for these trunks catches my mind - imagine moving across the ocean or country with everything you own and value in a trunk like this.
I am guessing that the trunk is over 120 years old, but made after 1880. The metal decorations have a patent date of 1880, and the latches (hasp) patent date seems to be July 6 1872. The lock has a patent on it of 1972 also.
The trunk is surprisingly sturdy, the wood interior is almost entirely encased in a metal coatings with wood accents. The black material is a very strong metal, which was cut and bent around the curves, and then tacked in. This kind of hand work from 100 years ago would be manufactured differently now - the metal would be machined with the curve, and probably not nailed.
My trunk is higher end - the pattern on the tin(?) was probably an option for the more expensive trunks. I understand that the pattern is called 'crystallized tin'. While the gold color has worn away in some place, I like weathered surface texture the old finish has. I'm OK with the way the black paint has been worn away from the black metal. I like the way the builders used decorative metal hardware instead of plain functional metal - the details add interest for me. One of the side leather handles is still surviving.
To clean the trunk up, I used lots of surface wipes all over, especially on the interior. Then I used Murphy's wood soap on the exterior wood parts, followed by pledge. On the silver colored metal I used Brasso Metal polish. The black metal, which had been painted black, was washed down with the surface wipes only. I aired the trunk out first in my garage, and then outside on a blindingly sunny day. I put little bowls of baking soda on the inside to absorb any lingering smells. (I now know kitty litter might do a better job.) This was my first attempt at cleaning up something like this.
Interestingly enough, the site Legacy Trunks is loaded with trunk photos and information. I learned about Legacy trunks from this blog, which seems to have a companion trunk to mine. Check both sites out if you are interested. Opps, now I found the site Brettunsvillage Trunks which is full of photos, info and humor. Look what happens when you post a blog. You learn a lot more about the item you are sharing.
Click on the images to see them enlarged.
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