The Antique Trunk

Peter and I rescued this trunk from an uncertain fate yesterday after his mom decided she didn’t have room for it anymore.  Now it is sitting happily and beautifully in my bedroom at home.  I must say I am in love with this trunk, it is a true antique with decidedly a lot of undiscovered history.

Now, I don’t mean to get all American Pickers on you but after some consideration of the trunk’s features and a few google searches we began to narrow down the origins and time period of the trunk.

Peter’s uncle bought it for his mom from an estate sale in North Carolina.

It was made by the H.W Rountree & Bro Company which was founded in 1875.  They were most famous for their roller tray trunks.  Unfortunately, I can’t check to see if this trunk has a roller tray because we have no idea where the key is.  However, it seems likely since the “seal” on the trunk says “roller tray trunks” right on it.  Plus, I found this really interesting advertisement from 1907 in the Times-Dispatch of Richmond, VA.

The trunk of the bottom right hand corner looks very much like this one!

The lock provides even more information about the time period.  The Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company made locks beginning in 1868.  Here is the lock, in-full:

The hinges are also noteworthy:

The hinges were made by The Stanley Works founded in 1843.  There is a date on all the hinges which I assume is the patent date: “June 10 79”.  A quick search in the patent records shows that there was a patent from June 10th 1879 for a hinge granted to Stanley Works (#216,399).  Based on this knowledge, I’m am going to guess the trunk was fabricated sometime shortly after 1879.  Which means it is likely over 100 years old!

However; the trunk’s biggest mystery is its previous owner.

How cool is this!?  The original owner’s initials are painted on.  I gave me a Peter chills to see something so interesting.  It’s reminiscent of what they were going for in The Darjeeling Limited:

W. A. W.  I’m sorry, you cannot have your trunk back.

If anyone reading this has any information on this particular trunk or its facets let me know!  If you think you know who W.A.W. is then I would love to hear it.


11 thoughts on “The Antique Trunk

  1. Jason

    hello, I have this same exact trunk sitting in my living room, and im also trying to find info about it. my trunk is not nearly in as good of shape as your trunk. the inside of my trunk is immaculate tho, and has all of the trays and accessories. i have the same seal on the front of mine, leather straps, lock, everything. if you were able to find anything else about this trunk feel free to email me, id love to know the value of it, prolly not worth a lot, but the trunk is awesome!

  2. Jenifer

    I have a trunk that is smiliar to this one except that my locks r different. lock was made by Eagle Lock Co. in Terryville Conn. USA. It is very old and i would like to know the worth!! I cant seem to find any info about this particular trunk. It has a cutain and clothes hangers. drawers for clothes and shoes. Its an awesome trunk and would love to know more about it….if anyone knows anything……thanks!!!!

  3. James Cardoza

    Hello. Your Rountree trunk was made around 1920. This is based on the style, and hardware. I also have a 1920 catalog with you trunk in it.(very close as often changes were made) You can call or email for a picture, or more information.You have to be careful with patents as many parts were used for many years after they were patented.
    HMS Antique Trunks

  4. Linda Marion

    I have a trunk like your, purchased at an auction approx. 35 yrs. ago. I need a key. The lock is by Excelsior, Stanford, Conn. Also it has UG 350 on the lock. Any suggestion on locating a key

  5. Olivia

    I have the exact same trunk! I just bought it from a young couple who had no use of it today, cleaned it up and am now researching it. The husband works for a demolition company and upon breaking down a wall to an old house, the trunk slid right out of the second story and into his crane. It is identical to yours with only a few differences like an emblem painted on the side and the pad lock, although from the same company, looks a little different. Would love to send you pictures if you’re at all interested.

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