Soloman Levy was a trunk maker in Memphis from the late 1860's to the late 1890's. He was originally from Prussia and was 55 years old in 1870 based on census data from Memphis, TN. He was one of 16 trunk makers listed in the 1870 census for Memphis. Most cities had a number of trunk makers, most of which are unknown today. You are fortunate that the name was on your trunk because many are found unmarked and unlabeled. Based on the style of the trunk and hardware, I can tell you that this was specifically made as a "Sample Trunk". That means it was used by traveling salesmen to carry mechandise samples, such as shoes, etc. I can also see the words "Brand Shoes" on the front of the trunk along with others, which also indicates it was originally marked with the name of the company as many sample trunks were. The tag with the number was a way that they company kept track of the trunks. The hardware styles indicate the trunk was not made prior to about 1880, which is typical as most of these were made from the late 1880's to about 1920, when traveling salesmen were quite common. The trunks were made large and heavy duty to withstand a lot of hard use. They are usually canvas or vulcanized fiber covered, have heavy iron hardware, and brass locks. The Levy company didn't make the locks but had them made with their name on them, by companies such as Eagle Lock Co. This is the typical shape and size of a shoe sample trunk. Over the years I have seen and owned a variety of them, some with brightly painted Shoe company logo's on the front and back. Most likely, this trunk was made and used in the 1890's. I also have a couple labels from the S. Levy company and will attach one for you to see. I hope this has been helpful to you.
Marvin Miller, ThisOldTrunk.com
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Dear Mr.Miller thanks for your response that is interesting to know what i found and the history thank you.
I can answer questions related to antique trunks, their age, manufacturers, styles, patents, etc, including all types of trunks such as steamer trunks, saratoga trunks, Victorian trunks, slat trunks, toy and doll trunks, stagecoach trunks, valises, hat trunks, and others.
I have over 40 years experience in trunk restoration, collecting, and research. I own the most extensive collection of historical documents, catalogs, maker's labels, cards, etc. related to antique trunks. I am always updating my inventory of historical documents and antique trunks.
Organizations Association of American Antique Trunk Restorers, President.
Publications Primarily on the website www.ThisOldTrunk.com
Cotton & Quail Antiques newspaper (Southeast). Antique Journal magazine.
Education/Credentials Bachelor of Arts from the University of Georgia. I have conducted extensive research related to the topic of trunk manufacturers and trunk styles in the U.S. and Europe.
Past/Present Clients Have consulted for the Pawn Stars TV show on antique trunks.
I have sold antique trunks to museums in California and Florida and to customers around the world.