Locks for Antique Trunks
for the so called early steamer trunks were first made by hand before
1833. In or around 1836, trunk locks were made by machine and continued
to be manufactured as such until the late1920s with some simple
modifications for the present day foot lockers.
The manufacturing of steamer trunks around 1860-1900
became big business in early America which necessitate the need
for trunk locks. Some trunk companies made their own locks but most
of them bought trunk locks from large lock manufacturers. The most
prominent lock companies in those days were:
- Corbin Cabinet & Lock Company
- Eagle Lock Company
- Everlasting Lock Company
- Excelsior Lock Company
- Long Lock Company
- National Lock Company
- Taylor Trunk Company
- Yale & Towne Lock Company
Old trunk locks are identified by the patent dates
and the manufacturer's names and numbers imprinted on the locks.
Locks can be helpful in identifying the trunk manufacturer and age
of the trunk. The mechanism of locks on later trunks became more
complex. Keys for these trunks are difficult to make and difficult
to find. The three most common locks for the antique trunks were
designed to accommodate barrel keys, flat keys and corrugated keys.
The modem foot lockers have simplified versions of the old trunk
locks as those presently manufactured by the Ohio Travel Bag Company.
Locks for early American Steamer Trunks
were designed with one of two mounting styles:
|Surface mounted locks
are attached to the flat surface of the trunk and came with
either a flat or barrel key:
||Hole mounted locks
have a round protrusion on the reverse side which contains the
locking mechanism and fits into a drilled hole. These trunk
locks were designed for corrugated keys:
If your trunk is locked and you have no key, you
can take your trunk to a locksmith who may have a key or contact
a trunk restorer who may have a supply of trunk keys. Do not break
the lock in order to open it. Many locks are hard to replace and
are a valuable part of the old trunk.
If your trunk is missing
a lock or you need to replace a broken lock, seek an antique trunk
refurbisher such as Stevens Antique Trunks (www.stevensantiquetrunks.com)
for a possible replacement.
For information on repairing,
replacing or the cost of a trunk lock, please call us at 201-768-1742
or write us an E-mail note attaching pictures of the lock on the
front of your trunk. All trunk locks sold will have one or two keys.