Collectibles-General (Antiques)/chest information


QUESTION: So I inherited this old trunk and it appears to have hidden beauty but I have no idea what it was or the manufacturer.  I was wondering if you could help me in finding your information on this.  All I know is it came from several generations.


1911 catalog
1911 catalog  
1911 trunk catalog
1911 trunk catalog  
ANSWER: Romeo,
This style trunk was called a Cross Slat barrel top trunk and they were made by many American trunk companies from the late 1880s through the 1910's. It was a very popular style and they were made in many sizes and models, some with metal covering and some with canvas or leather. They always had some type of lift out tray. The interiors and exteriors looked a little different between companies, but they were very similar.  Some of the metal slat clamps on the trunk were patented in 1880, but they were used for about 40 years in the same style. Most were lined with paper and often had the fancy trim paper and color lithographed pictures in the lid or on the tray. Most likely this trunk was made from about 1900 to 1915 when many were made. Some have makers labels but many do not.  I'm attaching a couple pages from a 1911 Nashville trunk maker catalog which show similar trunks and you can see the details they provided.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


lock area and location of something
lock area and location  
QUESTION: Wow thanks for the quick response. Where does a person acquire parts for a trunk for this to restore?  It is missing the lock and what seams to be the manufacturers emblem.

I also found some indentifying marks on the side latches as in the images to aide in identification

The marks on the latches are the patent date. Many trunk hardware parts were patented and then used by many trunk makers for many years.  The person holding the patent would sell the patent to a large hardware company and then they would sell them to the trunk companies. There were trunk hardware makers in Newark, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago, New Britain Ct and in other cities. The 1872 patent is the oldest on the trunk, but the clamps were 1880 and then the metal covered cross slat trunks were made a little later as I mentioned.  So those parts do not identify the maker. Actually a small percentage of trunks have a makers label and most of the labels were paper labels inside the trunk.  I just know this from 40 years of constantly restoring and researching trunks.  There are a very few trunk parts that are reproduced and the old parts can be hard to find. Most of the reproduced parts at the metal slat clamps of the style on your trunk. Some restorers such as myself save old parts from other trunks and do sell some, as I do on my website. If you don't find what you are looking for, just email me at and I can try to help you find the parts you need.  
I hope that helps.

Collectibles-General (Antiques)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Marvin D. Miller


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.

Association of American Antique Trunk Restorers, President.

Primarily on the website Cotton & Quail Antiques newspaper (Southeast). Antique Journal magazine.

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.

©2017 All rights reserved.