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Question
I have an Innovation Wardrobe "hump topped" trunk from the early 1900's which has ten swing-out hangers on one side and five drawers on the other side.  The hangers hang from wooden slats that have a clip on the end to hold them together.  There are two slats per hanger.  I am curious, what goes between the slats.  I know you don't hang skirts or pants from the slats as there is no space between them when the clip on the end is closed.  They must have been used for hanging cloth or paper or something thin like that.  Here is a picture of the slats.  

https://sphotos-a-pao.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/1000556_10151666333902726_1961478845_n.jpg

Thanks for any help anyone can give me.

Harley Goes


Answer
Hello Harley,

The patent for this particular wardrobe trunk feature was awarded in January 1929, so your trunk was made sometime after that date.  I have found more patents related to wardrobe trunks and their special features than any other type trunk. These were really popular from the 1910's to the 1940's and many American trunk companies tried to come up with something unique for their wardrobe trunks.  I have studied your picture and the actual patent drawings and description and I find no mention of the slats holding anything except the hangers. I believe this particular style trunk may have been designed for use by women for dresses rather than other clothing articles like slacks, etc.  In the 1920's and 30's I don't believe women were wearing many pants or skirts, so hangers and drawers may have been enough.  Anyway, you can read all the details of the patent and make your own decision about the purpose, but I think it is fairly clear. The link for the patent documents is copied below and you should be able to copy it and look this up online.  Keep in mind that many patented items were slightly modified when they were actually made, so the finished item can look slightly different than the detailed drawings or descriptions.  It even states in the patent that other modifications may be made.  So, I hope this is enough information to answer your curiosity about the design of your wardrobe trunk.  Also, many of these wardrobe trunks were made with a rounded top so that the trunk would not accidently get set upside down and mess up all the clothes.
Marvin Miller


http://www.google.com/patents/US1698859?dq=innovation+wardrobe+trunk&hl=en&sa=X&

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Marvin D. Miller

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

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