Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vintage Treasure Chest

antique steamer trunk treasure chest by Selep Imaging

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.
antique steamer trunk treasure chest

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.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy...

Heart Window
Angel Window
Madonna Window
Beveled Window
Stained Glass
Tree Pins
Book Treasure
Garden Horses
Antique Trunk
Eggs of Stone

See more great finds and treasure! VisitColorado Lady for Vintage Thingies Thursday, (I was entry 16 of 35).
Diane for 2nd Time Around, (I was entry 32 of 32).
Tales from Bloggeritaville for Thrifty Thursday, (I was entry 5 of 70). 
Jan for Boardwalk Bragfest, (I was entry 54 of 55).
Selena for Thrift Share Monday (I was entry 23 of 23).
Bonnie at Twice Owned Tuesday (I was entry 40 of 41). 
Romantic Home for Show and Tell,  (I was entry 68 of 125).
Claudia for Fridays Finding Beauty,  (I was entry 5 of 14).
Jessica for Favorite Things Friday,  (I was entry 72 of 124+).
Trinkets and Treasures (I was entry 3).
Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays,  (I was entry 111).
Southern Hospitality for Today's Thrifty Treasures, (I was entry 105).
Debbie for Garage Salen Party,  (I was entry 15 of 16).


LV said...

What a wonderful vintage trunk. It is hard to believe it is in such great condition. You were smart on getting this treasure.

Coloradolady said...

I am like you, imagine the stories that trunk could tell. It is a beautiful piece and what a great price! Have a wonderful VTT!

Jocelyn said...

Wow it sure is in great shape!

Postcardy said...

That's a cool old trunk. I always wonder why the tops were curved.

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove said...

A very nice find! I love the details on the trunk!

fitty's pinky rose cottage said...

very nice trunk! and vintagey too!

Maureen said...

Nice find at a fair price. Gotta love it!

Anonymous said...

WOW -- That is truly beautiful. I love it. thank you so much for sharing this treasure at the Boardwalk Bragfest. I love the tulip picture below too!

Anna said...

That is a beautiful trunk, you did a great job cleaning it up. Nice find!

My Cottage Charm said...

Wow, you got a great deal on your trunk! It is so detailed and pretty! I appreciate you linking up to Treasures and Trinkets Thursday, I'm so glad you stopped in! I'm on vacation right now, but had to sign in and see what everyone had linked up! :-)
Have a great week..can't wait to show you guys all my pics of Charleston, SC!!!
Blessings and Hugs

Gayle said...

Oh my goodness you gals keep reminding me of more things I could share. I have a very similar trunk. Where your decoratvie metal is gold mine is blue. And now I know that the original handles were leather. I could tell they had been replaced on mine.
I'm off to look for a date--never did that.

Staci J said...

That looks so rustic and awesome!! I want one!! Visiting from Friday Favorites

Eileen said...

Love it. I have a couple of old trunks too. I would have more if I had the space. I have one just like it with the curved top and it is painted pale pink. I have another one at my Cottage Beach House, with a flat top that I use for a coffee table.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful treasure. I have always loved old trunks, and yours is beautiful. Karen

eileeninmd said...

It is a beautiful trunk. Looks lovely sitting there. I would like one for my bedroom.

Sandra said...

Your hump top trunk is lucky it still has the leather handles. You asked about mine and how I cleaned it...on the outside I used Howard's Restore a Finish in Honey Oak. On the inside I just vacumed it well...still trying to improve the mothball smell inside the trunk. I just added some cedar chips in a bowl.

Sally Annie Magundy said...

Your trunk is so wonderful!

Happy VTT,

Debbiedoos said...

THat is a beauty...I love how it cleaned up...really looks great. Thanks for joining in my Before and After party....I will still have my Garage salen party this Friday...but every other Wed I do a before and after party...hope I did not confuse you too much:) This piece is perfect though...but if you could just say it is for the Before and after instead of the garage salen:) Thanks Debbie

Unknown said...

Great trunk. It looks fantastic!!!

Unknown said...

fantastic trunk, full of unusual detail and in such great shape!!

hope you are going to join the blog chic party!!


Robyn said...

Hi Jeanne,
I think this trunk is beautiful. I found you while I was searching for images of treasure chests! I'm wondering if you will allow me to use the photo while I do some posts on "family treasures". Do I have your permission?


Anonymous said...

Hey mom it's me, Miranda!!!

I decided that I would check-out your web-site and I want you to know that I think it's amazing. But anyway, with a name like VINTAGE Treasure Chest, How could you go wrong? :)
Love you,

Anonymous said...

hey its your daughters best friend!
i have the same trunk at home with a panting of the original owner on the website!!!!!

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