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
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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