Everything was much more complicated and involved than it is today. When we get ready to hit the road, we throw a few things in a suitcase and take off. We don’t worry about having enough clothes because we know if run out we can either go buy more or find a Wal-Mart or a Laundromat.
In the 1800’s, a woman had to plan for days, maybe weeks of what to take for an extended stay. Think of packing long dresses and voluminous petticoats alone and that’s not going into all the other necessities a woman would have to have. Their belongings took up a lot of space. It would require a trunk.
There were a lot of different styles to choose from.
THE CIVIl WAR TRUNK – flat topped, of wood with metal bands
THE STEAMER TRUNK – most common, has flat top and was covered with canvas and wood slats with metal banding. This photo is of one I used to have. During one of my many moves it came all to pieces. I didn’t know there are places that repair them so I got rid of it. I’m kicking myself.
THE JENNY LIND – leather-covered, iron or brass bands with large brass studs, curved inward on the sides giving it an hourglass look.
STAGECOACH TRUNKS – leather-covered with steel bands & large brass studs
HALF-TRUNKS – as the name suggests, half the size of the others
THE BARREL-STAVE TRUNK – has a domed top but is only style featuring horizontal slats. This trunk belongs to my sister, Jan Sikes. Her husband restored it for her many years ago.
WARDROBE TRUNKS – monsters, largest & heaviest made, designed to stand on end and when opened ½ (usually the right side) is drawers – the other side hanging clothes & usually a shoe box, sometimes contained an ironing board (Goodness gracious, they certainly wanted to be prepared!)
These are only a few. I’m sure there were tons of others. As you can see some were small, some large and some were monsters. The quality probably depended on a person’s finances. I’m sure more than once they broke open and the contents scattered everywhere. I’d have been completely mortified.
Which type would you most likely to have used back then? Big, small, fancy or plain?
In honor of the release of our HEARTS AND SPURS anthology by Prairie Rose Publications in which I have a short story entitled, “The Widow’s Heart,” I’m giving away a $25 Amazon e-gift card.
For more information about me or my books visit www.LindaBroday.com.