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.

To Top It All Off

It was in the late seventeenth century that women’s headgear began to emerge in its own right and not be influenced by men’s hat fashions. According to HatsUK, the word ‘milliner’,  a maker of women’s hats,  was first recorded in 1529 when the term referred to the products for which Milan and the northern Italian regions were well known, i.e. ribbons, gloves and straws. The haberdashers who imported these highly popular straws were called ‘Millaners’ from which the word was eventually derived.

By the mid 1800’s Swiss and Italian straws, together with imitation straws made from paper, cardboard, grass and horsehair were available to women, along with the introduction of velvet and tulle. Throughout this journey, as hats evolved, they became works of art. True craftsmanship was required to create hats, which at this time were all made by hand. The fact that many antique hats in good condition exist today is a testament to the quality of haberdashery and the care taken by owners to preserve their hats. A hat put on display can become a beautiful conversation piece, or simply a lovely object to fill a special corner of your home. And for those of us with that certain sense of ‘style’, they can still be worn — for the right occasion, of course.

Run to the Mountains

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.” John Muir

Annie’s Gold

Annie’s Gold Antiques & Collectibles,  owned by Deb and Jim Dysinger is at 2712 Colorado Blvd. (US Hwy 40) located in beautiful  Idaho Springs, Colorado. Take Exit 241 off I-70, where you’ll find us less than half a mile off the exit ramp on Colorado Blvd.  You may call or email if you need to make an evening appointment. Annie’s Gold has a beautiful collection of antiques, collectibles, jewelry, lighting, and other beautiful items to tempt you. Rather than store owners, we think of ourselves as collectors, sharing with collectors, helping loved and historic items move from home to home where they will be cherished.  Every item in our store has been hand-picked with attention to authenticity and hand-crafted quality.  To be an antique the item must be at least 100 years old with collectibles falling into the 40+ year old category, and all have been verified for age and origin. We also have gold nuggets from historic gold mines in the area available in the store. You’ll find a visit to Annie’s Gold to be more than a shopping experience. It’s a walk back in history, with every item having its own story.