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Rare Excelsior Patent Oak Slat Trunk, Ca. 1870's

Item #T120

Price

Rare Excelsior Patent Oak Slat Trunk, Ca. 1870's

Size: 32" wide, 20" front to back, 23 1/2" tall.

This one is for those of you who want to try your hand at restoring a great old trunk on your own, or who may want to just clean it up and leave it original. You can do whatever you prefer! A rare genuine Excelsior Patent oak slat trunk in good complete condition. Based on the style, lock, and hardware, this trunk was made from around 1870 to the mid 1870's. It still has the original leather lifter which is stamped "Excelsior Patented Jan. 7, 1868", complete and in pretty good condition!. Other special features include:
Solid brass lock, marked Sept. 6, 1870, complete with working key! Original wide leather handles and cast iron handle holders. Oak slats all in good condition. Four original rollers on bottom. Original all wood tray! Has original metal buckles if you want to replace the front straps. Sure it needs a good cleaning, some minor repairs and restoration, but it's a great one to spend your time on and you'll have a valuable gem when it's completed. Please let me know if you want more information or pictures.

Plus, here's new information based on my research that you are getting first from This Old Trunk! I'm sure others will end up copying this information as they have done with my information in the past. This trunk style was first patented by Jonathan S. Eaton of Roxbury, Mass., granted on Jan. 7, 1868. The unique feature was a trunk that is completely covered with strips of wood over a thick wooden body, making it more durable and attractive than others. In the patent description, Mr. Eaton explained that this trunk could be given a fine finish which would make it "useful even as a piece of furniture suitable for a chamber" (yes, that means "room" to us). The name "Excelsior" was given to the trunk style after the patent was granted and it means "superior" or "the highest standard".

The oak slat trunks were made in the U.S. but not by the Excelsior Lock Co., which came along many years later. There are various trunks out there with locks marked Excelsior Lock Co., Newark NJ, but they did not make these trunks. Excelsior patent trunks have been found with locks made by several lock companies including Eagle Lock Co., C.Liebrich, and Star Lock Works. Each of these companies made many styles of trunk locks during the years the Excelsior Patent trunks were made. Eagle Lock Co. even made a lock they called "Excelsior" but they did not make trunks. I believe Jonathan Eaton sold the rights to his patent to an established trunk company that could actually manufacture a high quality trunk. He did not start his own company just to make this newly patented trunk design. Eventually when the J. Eaton patent expired, other companies began to make oak slat covered trunks, but they were not called Excelsior trunks. Finally, based on extensive research done by myself (Marvin Miller), and John Head, we have finally determined that there was never an Excelsior Trunk Company in the U.S. (as many people have assumed because of the "Excelsior Patent" printed on these trunks). We have found proof that one particular trunk company in the U.S. did manufacturer the "Excelsior Patent" trunks. Also, there was an Excelsior Trunk Works in England during the late 1800's, but they did not make the oak slat style trunks. The Excelsior Patent trunks, now called Oak Slat trunks, were the top-of the-line trunk style made by a company that made many types of trunks. The proof of this is based on an actual rare trunk label found recently in an early marked Excelsior Patent trunk. The label states that the company (not to be named here, sorry) made all types of trunks, valises, and traveling bags. But the label also includes "Manufacturer of... Excelsior Patent trunks." They obviously were proud of this and wanted everyone to know, so they stated it on their label. Why labels have not been found in other Excelsior slat trunks is a mystery, but we have never seen another one yet. Yes, we know that other companies including M. Maier, Clinton Wall Trunk Co., and others later made trunks of this style and had their labels on them, but we are talking about the original "Excelsior Patent" marked trunks. We will provide the name of the actual trunk company which made the Excelsior Patent trunks in a future publication so stay tuned. If anyone has any other specific historical information regarding Excelsior Patent trunks, we would be happy to hear from you. Thanks!

Price: $1395 includes shipping by FedEx ground in the continental U.S. Other pick-up or delivery arrangements can be made if desired. Also, layaway is available upon request.

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