Collectibles-General (Antiques)/haskel bros trunk


Trunk front view
Trunk front view  

trunk lock
trunk lock  
I know  Haskel Bros Manufacturing made trunks roughly between 1880-1920 but no matter how much research I do I can't find much more information than that. It has a metal plate on the lid stating it is a haskel bros trunk but the lock is from Yale & Towne manufacturing.  I would really just enjoy learning more about the trunk I obtained when my parents bought their new house and found it in the garage.


Sample Trunk 1890
Sample Trunk 1890  

Haskell Label
Haskell Label  

You have experienced the same difficulty and frustration that I have many times trunk maker history. I've been researching trunk manufacturer history for many years and I now know that there were hundreds of trunk makers in the US during the time Haskell Brothers was in business and there is only very limited, and sometimes no information on many of them online. There were over a dozen large trunk manufacturers in Chicago alone and many in most large cities.  While there could be some history of the company in some published source, the information must be scanned and made available online before we can find it with internet searches.  Each year there is more historical information showing up online. Some of the best sources are from libraries and historical societies across the country. I do know that sometime around 1920, Marvin S. Haskell was president of the company and he became very wealthy from the company.  I've owned and sold several Haskell Bros trunks and all of them had the cast metal plate with the name. They also had paper labels inside with the address and name. I have learned a great deal about some companies and also about the hardware and locks they used and have patent documents on many of them. Most companies such as Haskell Bros. made a variety of trunk styles and they also used locks from several lock makers, even during the same time period. The lock is solid brass and very good quality. There is often a key code on the face of the lock, usually stamped in the brass near the hinge point, such as B52, AB, G28, etc. With that code you may be able to find an original style key for the lock. Most Haskell trunks were covered in canvas but some had leather or metal covering. The hardware appears to be heavy duty and the trunk could have been a "sample trunk" which was used by traveling salesmen to carry product samples including hardware, wall paper, tools, etc. etc. I know that Haskell labels state that they specialized in making sample trunks. The latches were patented in 1878 by Charles Taylor, another trunk maker from Chicago, but they were sold to other trunk makers and used into the 1920's.  The lock is a style also used from the mid 1880's until the 1920's, so those really don't help determine an accurate age. It is nearly impossible to tell the age of most trunks more closely than within about 10 to 15 years. In this case it is certainly possible that the trunk was made between about 1885 to about 1915, most likely. I'm attaching a trunk catalog page of a sample trunk similar in some ways to yours. These were made in several sizes and shapes.  Also a Haskell label is attached if you have not seen one.  I hope this helps some.  

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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.

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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