Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Steamer Trunk

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Steamer Trunk
Steamer Trunk  

Steamer Trunk
Steamer Trunk  
Hello,

I am trying to learn about antiques.  I love them and one day hope to have an antique shop. I just bought what I believe is a steamer trunk but from your previous review I may be wrong.  The lock on the trunk says Eagle Rock dd USA Terryville CT. Any information you may be able to give me would be so appreciated. Is there any value to these trunks?

Thank you,

Karyn

Answer
1900 trunk
1900 trunk  

1900 Steamer Trunk
1900 Steamer Trunk  
Karyn,

Your trunk is a canvas covered trunk made sometime between the mid 1890's to about 1915. This tall style was not called a steamer trunk but was often called a dress trunk, or sometimes a Ladies or Gents trunk.  The true "steamer" trunk was always only the short styles that were up to 14 inches tall. That was because the steamship lines had regulations for many years that the trunks used in a cabin could only be up to 14 inches tall, so that it would fit under the berth in the cabin. Many people have started using the name for any antique trunk but it was never used for any other type trunk when they were first made.  Many old trunk catalogs that I have support that fact. I am attaching pages from a 1900 catalog which show a trunk similar to yours and also a true steamer trunk.  You can see some of the details they give about them, but they also made many other styles also.  These trunks were used by men and women for general travel purposes and many American trunk companies made them.  The locks were made by about a dozen different lock companies including Eagle Lock Co. of Terryville, CT. If you check very carefully you will see that is how the lock is marked. Other lock companies including Corbin, Yale & Towne, Star Lock Works, and Excelsior also made similar locks. But they did not make trunks. These trunks nearly always had a lift out tray such as yours and the compartment on the right was the hat or bonnet compartment. Most of these trunks were lined with paper, but some higher priced models had fabric or linen lining. Trunk companies made a variety of trunk styles and in price ranges for everyones budgets. These trunks do have value, but of course it depends on the condition, age, rarity, completeness, size, etc.  Many unrestored trunks of this type are found in the price range between about $75 to $200.  I hope that answers your questions.
More trunk history information can be found at ThisOldTrunk.com
Marvin  

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

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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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