RETROSPECTIVE OF THE OLD CURVED TRUNKS, WOODEN CHESTS AND SIDEBOARDS

HISTORY

old wooden chest before Louis Vuitton

To understand the history of  Louis Vuitton , Goyard , Moynat and Hermès luxury trunks from the end of the 19th century, we must understand the history of the old chests which led man to create these refined objects.

 

The history of chests goes back to the beginning of human history on the 7 continents, it is the first piece of furniture made by man.

 

DEFINITION: CHEST / SIDEBOARD

Furniture for storing personal effects. In the shape of a box that opens by lifting the lid.

It can have handles on the side, a latch or a lock but it is not an obligation.

Often made of solid wood (oak, walnut, or other local wood). 

Although it can be moved, it is not intended for travel , this is not its primary function.

 

ANCIENT EGYPT

old wooden chest Egypt period

On November 4, 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter made an extraordinary discovery in the Valley of the Kings:

Tutankhamun's tomb .

set of domed, flat and pyramidal top chests will be discovered.

 

Photo taken during the opening

from Tutankhamun's tomb

November 1922

old wooden chest Egypt period

 

How not to see a resemblance

with a modern Louis Vuitton trunk with leather or lozine trim.

 

 

Around 1327 BC

Tutankhamun treasure chest

ivory silver and gold wood 

.

wooden funeral chest antique curved trunk

 

 

Around 1327 BC

Chest of funerary furniture in painted wood representing the victories of Pharaoh over the enemies of Egypt - Tutankhamun

61cm x 43cm x 44 cm.

ROMAN ERA CHEST

Roman period trunk bronze studded chest

Iron and bronze chest  where valuable family heirlooms were kept. This safe was usually located in the atrium. It was a way to show the wealth of the family to own such a safe.

 

Around 100 BC

Pompeii 

Wood covered with iron and bronze

89 x 106 x 60 cm

CHEST OF THE MIDDLE AGES

Chest of Saint Louis Ancient medieval period

 

Around 1236

Chest of Saint Louis

Medieval period

champlevé enamel

Louvre Museum Paris

The assembly of 6 cm thick oak planks was reinforced by the wrought iron hinges.

 

The feet are used to isolate the furniture from the ground. 

Around 1300

Hinge chest

Oak and wrought iron

Missing center lock

89 cm x 165 cm x 79 cm

Museum of decorative arts Paris

 

Around 1480

Curved lid chest

Wood, leather, iron, paint

Dimensions 54 x 92 x 66

Cluny Museum Paris 

 

RENAISSANCE SIDEBOARD

Sideboard carved with motifs inspired by Gothic architecture .

 

As far as possible, we should avoid carrying such a chest , devoid of handles and nicely sculpted and therefore fragile.

Around 1450

Sideboard , walnut

Fenaille museum, Rodez

 

SAFE

Directly derived from the safe, the first so - called " Nuremberg " safesappeared at the beginning of the 17th century, this piece of furniture used toprotect valuables from theft.

 

Entirely made of iron. The key in the center of the cover activates a complications lock occupying the entire surface of the back of this cover.

 

Around 1600

Safe

Green lacquered metal

false lock entry on the front

 Top opening activating six bolts 

Origin Germany

 

JAPANESE CEDAR CHEST

 

Around 1640

Mazarin's chest

Beginning of the Edo era

Cedar covered with lacquer and gold 

Dimension: 64 x 144 x 73 cm

 

 

 

 

LOUIS XIV JEWEL CHEST

The golden chest called Anne of Austria, has long been considered one of the French masterpieces. It is also one of the centerpieces of the old royal collections still preserved. Delivered to Louis XIV in the spring of 1676 “to enclose all the adornments”, that is to say the gems with which the king's court costumes were studded. 

 

Unique testimony to the know-how of Parisian goldsmiths.

  

Around 1675

Chest known as Anne of Austria

Wooden structure covered with gold.

Red satin interior

Dimension 22 x 45 x 34 cm

INDO-PORTUGUESE CHEST

Indian art is a great finesse. This type of chest, also called a small Indo-Portuguese cabinet made in India (Gujarat and Sind), reproduces western shapes. They were adopted by the Mughal courts to store jewelry.

 

Around 1680

ivory carved in ebony 

North West India

Louvre Museum  

Department of Islamic Arts

 

 

MAIL BOX

Trunk for transporting postal mail

 

Around 1700

Mailbox

Discovered in 2017 with its contents 

wood, leather, fabric

England

STUDDED LEATHER COACH BOX

The word safe is then given to the item attached to a  horse-drawn carriage.

raw wood chest medieval France

During the  Middle Ages , it was necessary to move frequently in emergencyfor political or economic reasons and the safe offered the advantage of containing many objects : removable beds, hangings, tapestries, clothes, precious objects.

 

In addition to storage, this type of furniture had several other functions  : one could sit there, sleep there or have meals there. The chest is therefore the oldest "multifunction" piece of furniture, from which the cabinets will be derived.

Madame de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV.

 

Coach trunk with slightly domed front and lid adorned with brass studdedleather forming a flower pattern.

 

Around 1750

Trunk of the Marquise de Pompadour coach

studded leather-wrapped wood  

Dimensions: 56 x 113 x 58 cm

 

 

TRAVEL TRUNK

DEFINITION: TRUNK

Trunk  : 

Light wooden luggage, covered with interior and exterior canvas . Equipped with a lock and clasps. The trunk has a handle on each side for easy loading and handling.

 

Suitcase  : 

With the same function as the trunk, which is smaller, it only has one handle.

 

CURVED TRUNK

Wells Fargo - Diligence
Wells Fargo - Diligence 

The history of trunks is closely linked to horse-drawn carriage travel (animal traction car)

 

It was not until 1780 to see the first passenger transport companies appear, but they were reserved for an elite. The vastness of the spaces of North America popularized the stagecoaches of various companies, the most famous being the Wells Fargo founded in 1852.

 

The domed trunk meets this new need for travel.

 

Unlike the trunk, its purpose is no longer to be a piece of furniture in the house but to be used exclusively to move personal effects during trips.

 

Placed on the roofs of cars, the first domed trunks must now be light and waterproof to protect their contents from bad weather.

WHY IS THE TOP CURVED?

Since the trunks are not protected from the weather, the cover is curved in both directions so that the rain can flow from both sides.

 

The vault also increases the strength of the lid, as does a bridge or barrel (wine cask).

 

CURVED COATED CANVAS TRUNK

old curved trunk

 

The luxury houses Louis Vuitton and Goyard produced domed trunks.

 

Louis Vuitton

Around 1860

Trianon canvas, wood, tin, paper

 

 

 

LONG-HAIRED SKIN TRUNK

Curved trunk covered with long-haired skin.

Can be covered with goat skin, wild boar or other game to protect the contents from bad weather. Rural manufacturing.

 

Around 1850

Wood, goatskin, steel

 

 

AMERICAN TRUNK

The American trunk  is a sturdy trunk fitted with ornate decorative  iron fittings .

Often covered with embossed metal strip.

 

Around 1870

Trunk trunk

wood and metal

Dimension 75 x 71 x 50 cm

from America 

BASKET TRUNK (ENGLISH TRUNK)

Invented in England, the basket trunk (basket) has a wicker structure allowing a significant weight gain, it is covered with tar canvas.

The English trunk is lighter and less expensive than wood.

 

 

Around 1873

Moynat trunk 

Waterproof black canvas

breastplate border and cowl lock cover

2 wicker chassis


FLAT TRUNK

Old rounded and flat wooden trunk

1860 start of a new era

 

It's a revolution , flat trunks adapt to the mode of transport. More light , less bulky , they can be stacked in the wagon trains and bilge liners.

 

They gradually make the curved trunks disappear 

D ' origin all trunks travel are covered , to protect the contents from dust, insect and moisture.

  • canvas
  • leather
  • fabrics
  • parchment
  • paper
  • embossed cardboard
  • metal
  • vulcanized fiber
  • ... etc 

 

There is therefore no curved or flat trunk made of raw wood.

 

Many trunks have

distorted by removing the original canvas

to leave the wood visible

1870 LUXURY TRUNK

Old trunk

Around 1870 Louis Vuitton, Goyard and Moynat understood that it was necessary to create trunks that were both innovative, organized,  light and aesthetic. 

 

Arranging as a showcase  highlighting French know-how, nothing is too beautiful, it is the beginning of luxury trunks.

OTHER TRUNKS

AUTOMOBILE TRUNK

Automobile trunk

At the end of the 19th century, automobiles did not fit into their storage body. The car chassis was bought on its own  and then entrusted to a coachbuilder, the upholstery to a saddler ... the trunks for their part were entrusted to the trunk maker.

 

The words: Chest and Trunk

Will last on modern cars.

CAMPHOR WOOD CHEST

The camphor wood chest is essential for the conservation of furs , the peculiar smell persists for several years. This insect repellant repels moths. Assembly of solid wood planks with  dovetail , brass corners and hinges. 

Camphor wood chest

 

Some call it "naval officer's chests" but this name is fanciful.

 

Around 1940

The camphor wood chest

Dimension: 41 x 95 x 45

RINGED TRUNK

Old ringed trunk

The circled trunk is a cheap trunk , produced until the 1970s.

 

Beech wood slats.

 

 

VULCANIZED FIBER LUGGAGE

old vulcanized fiber trunk

Around 1900 the first vulcanized fiber trunks appeared  Maison Louis Vuitton will make this material famous with its trade name: Lozine. Which it will use mainly to protect the edges of the luggage, replacing leather and metal.

 

The other manufacturers will manufacture luggage entirely with this material.

 

PARCHMENT TRUNK

 

Old trunk covered with parchment

MILITARY TRUNK

old military trunk

Military trunk to store and deliver ammunition, weapons of war and other living on the battlefield.

Around 1914

World War 1 military trunk  

painted wood and metal

Dimension: 58 x 22 x 22 cm

CARDBOARD LUGGAGE

old cardboard trunk

From 1936 and the first paid holidays in France, the production of luggage with cardboard structure exploded, in order to reduce the cost of production and satisfy a wider clientele wishing to go on vacation.

 

Even Louis Vuitton will do it at the end of the 1950s, with its Stratos suitcase, then Satellite produced until 2000.


DISCOVER THE HISTORY OF LEGENDARY MALLETIERS:

trunk-moynat

 

Pauline Moynat 

The Moynat story begins  in 1849 and quickly became   famous

thanks to his creations for the automotive world.

trunk-goyard

Francois Goyard

The Goyard story begins in 1853 following the sudden death

of his employer.

trunk-louis-vuitton

 

 

Louis Vuitton

The Louis Vuitton story begins in 1854, exclusive wrapper for Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III.