Collectibles-General (Antiques)/sea chest


front view
front view  
I have old sea chest trying to find info about age and maker any info or history greatly appreciated

Cross Slat Barrel top trunk
Cross Slat Barrel top  

1897 trunks
1897 trunks  
Hi Jamie,

Your chest is a "Cross Slat" barrel stave top travel trunk, made in the America sometime between about 1886 to 1905. There were many trunk manufacturers in the U.S. at that time making this style trunk, in a variety of sizes and models, for men and women. They were never made specifically for use as a sea chest, but some could have been used that way. Plus many were used for travel across the oceans by travelers. I have restored and collected trunks for 40 years now and have a rather large collection of trunk maker catalogs, ads, patent documents, etc. which support all the information I provide.  I am attaching a couple old trunk maker catalog pages for you from 1888 and 1897, which had several different models of similar trunks. Some companies gave their trunks model names, such as Atlanta, Bristol, Jewel, Gem, etc.  The front latches on your trunk were patented in 1882 by Charles Taylor of Chicago, but the other hardware and metal covering on your trunk was used mostly from the late 1880's to about 1910. The metal between the slats was originally given a "crystallized" finish which was produced by a chemical process and metallic colorings. Some of these trunks had 4 slats across the top and others had three or five. The inside always had a lift out tray which usually had a hat or bonnet compartment. Some had compartments in the lid. The trunks were made with either metal, canvas, paper, or leather coverings. Some makers put their labels on their trunks but some did not, or they have been worn off or removed. My best estimate of the age of your trunk is that it was made between 1890 and 1900.  


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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 I own the most extensive collection of historical documents, catalogs, maker's labels, cards, etc.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 I am always updating my inventory of historical documents and antique trunks.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.

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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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