how to date a steamer trunk

I thought and thought and thought about how to restore it. If you enjoyed this post you might like to see how I transformed an older cedar trunk with milk paint!

This is a how to guide about appraising the value of antique trunks. Once the sides of the steamer trunk were white washed, it was technically finished! It was a fun piece to refinish. There has been much debate and discourse on what these types of trunks are actually called.

There were hundreds of trunk manufacturers in the United States and a few of the larger and well known companies were Rhino Trunk & Case, C.A. Like a house, you don’t want to buy a trunk with “bad bones”.

Above, you will see the variations of labels that can be found in a vintage Louis Vuitton trunk. I used a jigsaw to cut the pieces to fit perfectly around the trunk. There can be multiple labels for a decade, so do keep that in mind. For Vuitton, it was all about the details. So glad to have any and all tips on doing this as I have one that looks exactly like it (an old family heirloom) that awaits restoration. These are normally very large and heavy as they were used for extended travel by ship or train. The date is often the starting point of a quest, in search of its history and its origins . However, this design was not practical for stacking and storing trunks on steam trains or transatlantic cruises. Log in, How to Paint Furniture – A Beginners Guide, Monthly Social Blog Hops with the Best DIY Blogs. Now for hubby to have time to tackle the job and for me to track down a few little missing parts. There is a coin box, a drop-down compartment, and one chromolithograph.

During the steamer trunk restoration process when the inside paper covering is removed, dated notes in lead pencil made by the original craftsman may be found, as well as the circular saw blade impressions made on the rough-cut wood at the saw mill, both of which give added character and value to the restored trunk.

is stamped. Typically, these trunks were made of wood and were very sturdy. Labels help to date a trunk because they were introduced to designate a change of decade, a new style, or a new LV store.

Footlockers are trunk-like pieces of luggage used in military contexts. These were generally made from the late 1870s to the mid-1880s. is stamped.

hugs, Jann.

as parts, so they are not a good source to determine who made the trunk. I decided that spray paint could again come to my rescue! Never be afraid to ask questions about the trunk, or if you can have additional photographs.

Their Osilite trunk was used by such famous customers as T.E.

I knew I wanted to restore it to that color again and I’d heard that using nail polish remover could work! History of a Steamer Trunk. The best advice is to buy in person from a reputable dealer. Top Row- Left: Circa 1885. I have my grandmother’s steamer trunk, from around 1920 and really enjoyed reading your post. Use a soft cloth with a water and mild bleach solution to remove any mildew or mold. There were numerous tray and lid compartments in Victorian trunks, ranging from basic to complex.

The easiest way for the casual observer to date any trunk is still by examining its style, so a short description of each aforementioned major variety follows. Like I said, I wanted to keep as many of the historic elements the same if I could. Ready to see a few more flips by some crazy talented bloggers!

serial number.

Oak-slat trunks were built by several companies, including the Excelsior Company, MM (Martin Maier) Company, Clinton Wall Trunk Manufactory, and El Paso Slat Trunk Company. They sometimes were made with a small brass handle on top and were made in many sizes. You have restored this old trunk beautifully. Most of the trunks of the time had a rounded top (think pirate’s chest), that were created to maximize rain runoff. Removing the old material covering …

There can be multiple labels for a decade, so do keep that in mind. Included in this classification are camel-backs, which are distinguished by having a central, vertically running top slat that is higher than its fellows, hunch-backs or hump-backs which is the same but has no slat in the center of the top, and barrel-tops (not to be confused with barrel staves), which have high arching slats that are all the same height, a distinction that can be discerned by laying a ruler flat across the tops of the slats. They were low-profiled and small enough to fit under the berths of trains or in the cabin of a steamer, hence their name. Did you enjoy this post? We reveal 6 tips for dating your old Louis Vuitton luggage : To fight against the copies of the competition, Louis Vuitton has never ceased to develop the induction of its canvas. I’m sure over time little mice, or rats or maybe even just lots of elements, ate away at the base of it. At the beginning there was nothing, Then the address of the shops, with on certain elements the initials. You did well to restore such a special trunk. They are not only the most common trunks referred to as antique, but also are among the most popular. Now it’s time for some furniture flipping fun! This was offered in either a brown or black color scheme.

Good job on the trunk.

One of these elements was the pressed tin.

After I was done applying the wood to the base, I caulked around the trunk to make the wood look seamless. He took odd jobs along the way, finally reaching the city  at the age of sixteen. Honestly, this furniture flip was a little intimidating because I didn’t want to destroy the historical elements of this vintage piece. Enjoy watching you show how to do the trunk. I love to refinish furniture, but I also like to keep the historic value and charm somewhat intact.

The locks were patented and advertised as completely burglar proof.

Step 2 Most steamer trunks have tin on the exterior and wood slats.

This may help to pinpoint the era of your trunk. able to date your Louis Vuitton luggage and, 6 astuces pour dater sa Malle Louis Vuitton.

November 23, 2018. We can tell you countless stories of the folks .

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You did a beautiful job!

Labels help to date a trunk because they were introduced to designate a change of decade, a new style, or a new LV store. At the beginning there was nothing, Then the address of the shops, with on certain elements the initials LV.

I love simple DIY's, budget friendly home projects, refinishing furniture and scoring vintage finds, all on a budget of course! It is a fun and exciting task to uncover the mystery of your trunk.

Saratoga trunks were the premium trunks of many makers (or the exclusive design of many premium trunk makers) and actually can encompass nearly every other style of trunk manufactured if loosely defined, although generally they are limited to before the 1880s. This means that if you purchase from one of these links I will receive a small commission, but rest assured you will pay no more for the product. ... Trunks date back to pre-medieval times.

Hat trunks generally sell for more than any other average trunk style because they are smaller and are rather rare to find. Long before purses, shoes, and wallets, Vuitton established his high standards of quality and execution as a malletier (trunk maker).

Bottom Left: “Louis Vuitton” is stitched into the cage of a hat box. However, a true steamer trunk is a low profile trunk, no more than about 14" high, . A barrel-stave Saratoga trunk with protective metal banding on each of the oak slats, The complete tray compartments of the Saratoga trunk, Front-view of the Martin Maier oak-slat trunk. Lawrence and Ruth Vincent Some of the better known French trunk makers were Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Moynat, and Au Départ.

Other signatures will be found on various straps, handles, latches, buckles, and tabs. I kept thinking “how could I add a finish that would highlight the handles and brackets without completely “refinishing” it.”.


i saw a trunk similar to yours on the site. Keep it no matter what, DO NOT sell it. I admit I’m intimidated too!

I used painters tape to tape off the wood around the tin.

Indeed, too old trunks, of archaic manufacture , have less value than I stated above that this trunk intimidated me. The stories this vintage piece of furniture could tell! And finally still used today the LV logo in a - Then with an open window on the canvas , showing the serial number printed on this canvas and accompanied by more or less information.

Your project turned out great. Show & Tell.

Thanks to Louis Vuitton archive records, the serial number is a simple way to find out the year and month of manufacture and sale of your They were made of various woods and covered with hides such as deer, horse or cowhide. One of the largest American manufacturers of trunks at one point — Seward Trunk Co. of Petersburg, Virginia — still makes them for school and camp, and another company — Shwayder Trunk Company of Denver, Colorado — would eventually become Samsonite.


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