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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Great grandfathers trunk


top strap
top strap  

I was told that my Great Grandfather brought this over from Germany when he was about 14 years old.

I know nothing more then that, hoping you could shed some light on my trunk.

There is a name and date embossed on the top straps, I can barely make them out, one appears to be a date 18?? the other a name, the only letters I can make out are PAT?MA?

Thank You

1911 catalog
1911 catalog  

This is an American made trunk of a style made from about 1885 to as late as about 1915 by many trunk makers. The date you see is a patent date of Mar. 16, 1880 and this style trunk and the metal slat clamps were patented by Charles Taylor of Chicago. He called it the Cross Slatted trunk and the round top trunks were usually called barrel top trunks back then. They were made in many sizes and models over the years.  The front latches were patented in 1882 and the embossed metal was made beginning about 1885 and eventually made in many patterns. So it is most likely this trunk was made from about 1890 to 1910. Most were paper lined and they had a lift out tray. There were a few large trunk makers on the east coast, New York and New Jersey, that exported many of these trunks to Europe. So many of them were brought back to American by immigrants. I'm attaching a page from a 1911 trunk company showing similar trunks. Many companies could make them because Taylor sold the patent to a large trunk hardware company which then sold the parts to trunk makers all across the country. It looks like the trunk is in very good original condition.   I hope that helps.  

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 I own the most extensive collection of historical documents, catalogs, maker's labels, cards, etc.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 I am always updating my inventory of historical documents and antique trunks.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