Way Back When

Idaho Springs Settlement – 1861

 

After gold was discovered in 1859, it didn’t take long for a permanent settlement to spring up. Before long, Idaho Springs was a booming community of 2,000.

Steamer Trunks

The name steamer trunk is frequently misused. Many people tend to generalize and call all old trunks steamer trunks; but a true steamer trunk is about half the height of most regular flat top trunks because they were used by passengers in their quarters during steamship voyages. Everything they would need during the voyage would be packed in that trunk and it was allowed in their room. Their other trunks, if they had them, were stored in the cargo hold and were not accessible during the journey. So, the term is associated with steam ships but not all trunks that traveled on steamships were steamers.

The classic flat top trunks we generally think of as steamer trunks were made from about the 1870s to around 1920. These trunks were the workhorses of that period, although flat trunks have been around since the very earliest Egyptian trunks. Another popular design during the flat top’s heyday had a rounded top. There are many stories to explain why the popularity of trunk design went from flat top stagecoach design to the round tops and humpbacks. Some say these rounded trunks came about because people were fed up with baggage handlers stacking their trunks and damaging them, so the round top evolved. It probably took porters about half-a-minute to tip the trunks over on their side and continue stacking them. Maybe that’s why flat top trunks came back into fashion.

Flat top trunks make beautiful coffee tables, and can be used to store blankets or toys. Adding a classic trunk to a room adds charm and a little history to the space. It even brings a touch of glamor, as we imagine the ocean liners the trunks traveled on and the items they carried.

A Touch of Glamour

Sometimes the smallest changes make for the best results. For instance, creating a place in your bedroom where you can shut out the noise and hustle of the world and quietly prepare for what’s on your calendar can set the proper tone for your whole day. You don’t have to change your entire house or even your whole room, just that one corner that you claim as your space, and yours alone. An antique dressing table can help you make that space come alive with glamour and charm. Today this table is called a vanity table; in the 19th century, it was known as a dressing table; but in the 18th century, it was a toilet table.  A mirror that could be tipped for a better view was attached to the top of the table by the 1750s. Thomas Chippendale designed a “toylet” table in 1762 that had not only a mirror but also a fancy, ruffled fabric skirt. Whatever style suits you, giving new life to an old vanity/dressing table can lend new life to your personal space. Go ahead – create that charming, glamorous corner. You deserve it.

Candlelight

Live in rooms full of light.  ~Cornelius Celsus

Candlelight is romantic, mysterious, beautiful, even spiritual. A table lit with candles lends a certain ambience to a dinner gathering and there is an ethereal beauty to the flickering shadows cast on the walls by the flame. The light cast by candles is soft, gentle and welcoming ~ unlike the glare that comes from a 60 watt bulb. There are, of course, times when we need a bright light to do work or read; however, when what you’re looking for is a light that caresses you and fills the room with warmth and comfort, candlelight or a fire in the hearth are the way to go.

Now, when you place those candles in lustrous antique candlesticks, you not only achieve the above mentioned atmosphere, you also add a touch of glamour to the whole room. The quality of old silver that has been polished with love over the years has a deep richness to it, a weathered kind of beauty that comes with age. The candlelight is reflected in the silver, winking and sparkling as it dances over the surface. Antique silver candlesticks are not just for the antique lover. They are for any aficionado of the small dinner party, the perfectly set table, or the flawlessly decorated home. If you want to add a little glamour, a little richness to your table or your home, find a pair of lovely candlesticks ~ and use them.

The Glamour of Crystal

Chandeliers have been around since the middle ages, when they were made of wood and used to hold candles to illuminate churches and monasteries. In the fifteenth century, they evolved, becoming decorative pieces as well as sources of light. They were also a status symbol, and frequently held the crest of the family whose home they graced. By the eighteenth century, glass making had developed to a point where lead was being added to glass, making an inexpensive and beautiful glass crystal. Crystal was incorporated into chandeliers, generating great sparkle and beauty, and quickly became a favorite item among the elite.  These chandeliers were luxury items, and afforded by only a few.

Even today, crystal chandeliers evoke images of glamour, wealth, class and elegance. The lead in antique crystal pieces create an extremely brilliant refraction of light. They are art pieces, not just light fixtures. Even if you aren’t a collector of antiques, a crystal chandelier might be what you’re looking for ~ that perfect signature piece for a room, that item that will give your home a special flair.