I recently purchased a wooden trunk and I am trying to gather information about it such as age manufacturer etc on the decorative metal along top it says pat mar 1880 it is from what I have gathered called a hump back or dome style. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
The original names used for this style trunk were Cross Slat barrel top trunk and Round Top trunk with embossed metal covering. I have never seen the names hump back or dome top trunk in any old trunk catalogs but everyone seems to be using those names today. The style of the Cross Slatted trunk was patented on March 16, 1880 by Charles Taylor of Chicago. But the fancy embossed metal covering such as on yours was not developed until around 1888 and these trunks were made as late as 1920 in nearly the identical style. They were a very popular style so nearly every trunk company made these trunks for many years. Most were made in the 1890's and until about 1915. The original 1880 patent was assigned to a trunk hardware company in CT so the parts were sold to many trunk companies. By the early 1900's a couple dozen different patterns of the embossed metal were made and in a variety of color combinations. The wood slats were almost always made of elm and sometimes ash, but most people think they are oak. Most of these trunks were lined with paper and they always had a lift out tray, and sometimes more than one tray. The covered section was called the hat or bonnet compartment. Many companies bought the lithographed pictures from printing companies and put them in their trunks, so that was also fairly common. These were made in many sizes and the most common ones are between 28 and 34 inches wide. I am attaching a couple pages from old trunk catalogs which have similar trunks, one from 1911 and another from 1920. You can read some of the details they gave about their trunks. I have a large collection of trunk catalogs from the 1870's through the 1920's and all trunk makers had a variety of trunk styles. The Cross Slat trunks were made in round top and flat top models also, some with metal covering and some with canvas or paper covering. A few higher grade trunks were made with leather covering but those are harder to find in the cross slat trunks. Some companies put their labels on their trunks, but many of these are found without a label. That's possibly because many trunk makers sold their trunks wholesale to large retail stores and luggage and furniture stores that sold the trunks. Very few of these trunks were made with unique hardware that identify the trunk company.
I hope this helps.
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.