Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Frank A. Stallman Trunk Co.
What were the years of operation for the Stallman trunk company?
Officially the Frank A. Stallman trunk company was in business from 1894 until 1919. But Stallman started his own trunk business in 1889 as a partnership with Calvin R. Starr and the company was called the Stallman & Starr trunk company (1889 - 1894). A few trunks of various styles are still found with this label. Then in 1894 Mr. Starr retired from the business and the company continued as the F. A. Stallman Trunk Company. They were still located on West Spring Street in Columbus, OH. Frank continued the business, some years under the management of his son Wayne A. Stallman until Frank died in 1919.
Frank A. Stallman was born January 28, 1857 in Kirkersville, Ohio. Frank was twelve when his parents moved to Columbus. In 1878 he started working at the trunk factory of J. A. Vandergriff. Later in 1889 he formed his partnership with Calvin R. Starr, under the name of Stallman & Starr.
The Stallman Trunk Company was widely known in the industry as one of the main manufacturers of the "dresser" style trunk. In the mid 1890s Stallman began working on his own style of trunks with sliding drawers rather than lift out trays and then he marketed the "Stallman Dresser Trunk". Many people call these dresser trunks a "theatrical trunk" partly because the Stallman label included the words "Sample and Theatrical Trunks". But not all dresser trunks were used as theatrical trunks. A "sample trunk" was a heavy duty trunk made in various sizes specifically for traveling salesmen to carry their company's samples from town to town, including items such as shoes, hardware, wallpaper, etc. This was big business for trunk makers of the late 1890's to the 1920's. The Stallman Trunk company made a variety of trunk styles in addition to their special dresser trunks. I think one interesting historical note is that Frank Stallman never obtained a patent for his dresser trunk, but Calvin Starr did obtain a patent for a special dresser trunk in 1896. I have never seen a trunk just like the Starr patented dresser trunk, but Stallman's trunks were very similar. Also, the dresser style trunks were not new in the 1890's, but had been around since the 1860's. One early dresser style trunk called the "Upright Trunk" was patented in 1868 by a trunk maker from Newark, NJ. It looked very much like the dresser trunks that Stallman made.