Monday, January 16, 2012

Antique Stagecoach Hide-covered Trunks

Years ago,
right after we 
moved into this home,
I was antiquing one day 
and found this old
 tattered hide-covered trunk.

I've always loved nail head trim
and that's what first caught 
my attention on this piece ---
oh, and the heart-shaped handles too.

(Someone added the handle on the top. It is not original to the piece but it is as I found it.)

Love the heart shape. Made with TLC!

A leather dust flap under the nails is a common design element.

I bought it, brought it home,
and thanks to the internet --
found the history on these 
old stagecoach trunks.

American trunks date back to the 1600's
and hide-covered trunks using deer, horse
or cowhides date back to the 1700's. 
By the late 1700's these hide trunks 
became a little more decorative 
with hand-forged metal locks and handles,
and brass nail head trim used to hold the hide
to the wooden trunk box.

Though many trunks were made by 
harness and leather makers,  some where made
by the father of a child heading off to a school house
or for his daughter leaving home for marriage.
(Initials on the tops of these pieces is common.)

Usually, decorative printed papers 
covered the interiors 
but sometimes newspapers were used as well.

Stained floral wallpaper in the largest trunk.

These trunks and boxes traveled 
cross country by horseback or stagecoach with their owners. 
It amazes me that that any of them exist
and have not been discarded.

(God bless the hoarders out there!
Do I hear an Amen?)

I have four of these handsome boxes in my collection.

The last one I found is much larger than 
the first three. It's a grand daddy
measuring 33" long by 17" wide. 
(Found it at the Junk Bonanza in MN two years
ago and had planned to resell it but .... 
well, you know how THAT goes!)

Love these old tattered trunks 
that make me wish  
I knew their individual history. 

(Can't stop the visions of "Little House on the Prairie" in my mind!)

Wouldn't it be fun to know who made them
and where their travels had taken them
in those early years of our great country's history?

One can only imagine.

Have you run across any of these boxes in your travels?
Maybe now that you know about them, you will spot one!

Thanks as always 
for stopping by today!


cityfarmer said...


Carolyn@SweetChaos said...

I've never seen them before, so I just learned something new! Oh... and ... AMEN!

Olive Cooper said...

God Bless Hoarders and you dear Alison for bringing us these beauties and the facts about them.

AntiqueChase said...

WOW, never seen these before... beautiful and something to look for!

Designs By Pinky said...

I have never seen them or at least I never noticed them:( YOu have thr most wonderful pieces!!! Thanks for sharing their history. My "word" this year is LEARN and I just learned something new! Thanks. XO, Pinky PS, AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

These really are amazing treasures! I always imagine the people that have used them back in the olden days! I love to imagine the history of items I possess. ♥

The French Hutch said...

I'll pay more attention now that I know what I've been missing. What great additions to a collection. I do have an old antique trunk and my Granddad's old case in my attic. This is a little bit of history I was missing. Thanks Alison, very interesting.

The French Hutch

Sarah said...

Alison, I've only seen these on your blog. They are wonderful. Love the texture of the leather hides and the nail heads. Wonderful finds! I'll have to keep my eyes open to these. Thanks for sharing more of The Polohouse. ~ Sarah

Kelly said...

I don't believe that I've ever seen those before. They are certainly unique and I love the history behind them.

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Those are gorgeous and unique. I love that large one.

Salmagundi said...

Those are wonderful! Sally

Sweet Old Vintage said...

Very unique and so very much suited for your lovely home... Blessings...

imsteelefullofscrap said...

Love the trunks they are gorgeous

Paula said...

I adore old trunks and haven't seen any like these. It's great that the insides are still original. I cringe when I see a trunk where someone has "fixed" it by covering the inside with fabric. Your pieces are unique and definitely a conversation piece.

Jan@southernjunkin' said...

I have 'a love affair' with old trunks! I own several! Can't seem to part with them!

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Oh, I've never seen one, these are just amazing!! Love that nail head trim!

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

Great collection Alison. I love the nailhead detail.

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

What beautiful pieces Alison!

michele said...

oh so gorgeous. what a find!


Tina said...

These are lovely!

Maria Elena said...

The trunks are gorgeous! So unique!

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Oh my what a beautiful collection of vintage trunks. You get a AMEN from me..LOL
Have a sweet day, Elizabeth

Carole said...

I think of that often...thank god for those hoarders of the past.


Richard Cottrell said...

What a wonderful box. I had some bar stool recently with hides on top, worn and much like this. Love the tacks, Richard from My Old Historic House.

Town and Country Gals said...

your trunks are fabulous! I've only seen one and it was not as nice as yours. You have a great collection and it's always interesting to learn some background.

Town and Country Gals said...

your trunks are fabulous! I've only seen one and it was not as nice as yours. You have a great collection and it's always interesting to learn some background.

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

What a beautiful piece. The nail head trim is really a stand out. yes, I wonder about the previous life of my items.

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