Steampunk Daily: Furniture: Antique Steamer Trunk

Image for: Antique Steamer Trunk (click to view a larger version)

The exterior was originally covered entirely of painted green canvas to make it waterproof. The interior and pull drawers were covered in a thin cloth textile. Both exterior and interior coverings were carefully removed, all wood surfaces scrubbed with a non-toxic cleaning solution, let to dry, and then very lightly sanded revealing the beautifully grained and seasoned pine wood body and oak wood slats that only 100+ year old wood can achieve.

The sheet metal was polished and then refreshed in a Black Japanning of Black Oak. The hardware latches and lock was polished revealing the now oxidized but original brass gilting. Afterwards the entire trunk was covered in two applications of spar varnish to preserve and bring out the highlights of the grain and character of the wood and all hardware. New leather handles and end caps replaced the older worn out leather. This trunk features 4 heavy duty front and side latches, extraordinally thick pine wood construction, could be placed right up against a wall via its "space saving" feature when opening it up. Each drawer has its original brass pulls. Working lock but no key.

These model trunks were not your typical travelling trunk as they were way heavy and cumbersome for relatively easy transport and confined use aboard ships, trains, or stage coach. As mentioned above, these antique trunks were typically used by travelling theater and circus groups which went from town to town performing their arts. They needed to have large trunks with easy access from which to put their costumes, mirrors, and makeup. These type of trunks were also a mainstay for the pioneer families settling the west in that they would easily fit into and be used on a daily basis inside a prairie schooner, covered wagon, or Conestoga. And when they reached their homestead destination the trunk was then able to be used as a "space saving" dresser in their new log home when living in the prairie wagon was no longer necessary!

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