I recently came into possession of a steamer trunk that belonged to my late grandfather. No one in the family can recall where it came from, or even how old it is. I was hoping you might be able to give me a general idea as to its age. The only markings I can find are on the lock and read as Eagle Lock Company, Terryville Conn. U.S.A. and the number 410 near the hinge. I understand Eagle Lock made locks for lots of trunk manufacturers so determining the maker of this trunk may not be possible but I was hoping to narrow down the date of manufacture so that I might match it to where my grandfather was living at the time. Thanks!
I see you have been reading up on trunks. You are correct that this is a true "steamer" trunk and that Eagle Lock company was one of several American lock makers that made a variety of trunk locks for many trunk companies. The 410 on the lock is the key code so that a replacement key can be found. This was the "slatless" style trunk and it looks like it is covered with vulcanized fiber. Most of the earlier steamer trunks, late 1890's to about 1910, were covered with canvas, and then the slatless vulcanized fiber trunks came on the scene gradually from about 1905 to 1915 and by the mid 1920's and early 1930's most of the steamer trunks were this style or similar to it. There were a large number of makers, so you are right that it's nearly impossible to tell which company made it without a maker's label. Based on the style of the hardware, lock, and trunk covering this trunk could have been made from about 1910 to the early 1930's. It's not really possible to narrow it down more because the same parts and locks were used for many years. I'm attaching a 1911 trunk catalog page of one slatless vulcanized fiber covered trunk, so you can see some of the information they give about it. Keep in mind that there were many models of these trunks, so it will not look just like your trunk. I hope that information helps.
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Thanks very much for the information and the quick response! It was very helpful.
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 I own the most extensive collection of historical documents, catalogs, maker's labels, cards, etc.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.