FAQ About Antique Trunks

FAQ About Antique Trunks


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Q. What is the difference between a trunk and a chest?
A. A trunk has handles and a chest does not.


Q. Why are some trunks dome toped and some flat toped or kind of in between?
A. It was just a matter of design and style. No functional reason exists for the difference except forĀ aesthetic reasons.


Q. Is my trunk worth a lot of money?
A. Possibly but most likely not. See our page about antique trunk values.


Q. Where can I find an old trunk to purchase?
A. Try Craigslist for the best deals; antique malls and flea market type venues generally have higher prices.


Q. What purpose did trunks serve?
A. A trunk is what we in the modern world refer to as luggage, when people from the 19th century would travel they would put their personal belongings in a trunk, therefore using it as luggage.


Q. How many trunk manufactures were in the USA?
A. I am unsure of this but it was thousands, after the Civil War the railroad industry was in full swing. The completion of the transcontinental railroad along with many other lines allowed people to travel farther and faster than ever before. This gave birth too many trunk manufacturers.


Q. My trunk is very ornate and decorated. How did they make all the hardware and embossed tin back then?
A. Even though we are talking about a time period over 100 years ago casting, machining and metal working was much more advanced than most people understand today.


Q. What is a steamer trunk? Are all trunks a steamer trunk? What does” streamer” mean?

A. A common term in our society is steamer trunk. We use this word to describe antique trunks, old trunk and vintage looking trunks. A steamer trunk in historical terms is a trunk that was used for travel by ship, or steamship. True steamer trunks are about 14 inches tall in order to save room on steamships.


Q. I think that my trunk may have come from Italy, France, Germany or some other European country when my relatives immigrated to the US.

A. Most likely not. A huge majority of trunks in the US are of US manufacture. It is very unlikely that the trunk you have was ever outside of the US.


Q. Can you tell me who made my trunk?

Most likely not unless your truck has very specific types of hardware on it or there is a makers label on the inside.


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Learn More About Trunk Restoration & Refinishing

More Trunk Restoration Information

Recommended Restoration Tools – Wonderful tools that can make a restoration much easier

Pictures of Restored Trunk – See some of the work we have done

Trunk Restoration Tips – Useful tips tp help refinish your trunk

How To Replace Trunk Handles (Video) – Easy to follow video about handle replacement

How to Clean Out The Inside Of A Trunk (Video) – How to remove paper and refinish the inside of your trunk

Learn More about Trunk Values & History

Antique Trunk Inormation

View Trunk Catalogs From The 1800’s – Real catalogs showing trunks for sale from the late 1800’s

Antique Trunk Values – Find how much trunks are really worth

FAQ About Antique Trunks – You have questions, we have answers

Restoration Services – Let us handle all your restoration needs

Hand Crafted Trunks For Sale – Check out our trunks we make by hand

8 thoughts to “FAQ About Antique Trunks”

  1. I have a large steamer trunk w/wooden hangers and drawers on the inside made by the Corbin cabinet and lock co of New Britton ,ct .. could be made in april 1907 or 1912….. have keys/lock works. Approx value?

  2. Hello, I have a trunk but it’s locked and I have no idea where the key is. I have looked online and I saw that there are two types of trunk keys. Mine would be the shorter one. However, my question is, if I were to order it, does one key fit all? Or will I have to get a locksmith to open my trunk?

  3. I have a trunk that I am restoring but am very new to this. It is a trunk that sits upright with wheels on the bottom and have a place to hang clothes on one side and drawers on the other. I loved it in the original condition that I got it in (it is worn and vintage and beautiful) but really stinks!! I have pulled all the fabric out of the trunk itself but have not done so on the drawers (really want to leave them as is, but understand I may not be able to to get the smell out totally). the inside of the trunk behind the fabric is not a solid wood, it appears to be a soft almost manufactured wood, can I sand this and polyurethane it to seal it to make it not smell anymore? also, do I have to do the same with the drawers? or can I just polyurethane them to seal them so there is no smell (they did not smell as bad as the inside of the trunk. any advise would be very helpful. I have watched the videos but most are the round top or flat top trunks/chests and not the travel closet style ones, but the videos have been very helpful and educational!! thank you!

  4. I have a large trunk from Monson Trunk Company in Fargo, North Dakota. It has an original label with the serial #7272. On the outside, right end, the intials A.M. are visible. Is it worth anything?

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