Monday, May 14, 2012

The Trunk

I know - I should always take before photos. But sometimes, I'm all in a rush, or I think the object mundane.

Wrong again.

It was in a fairly decrepit condition and the guidelines of the treatment were narrow.
  • Better - but not perfect
  • Attractive - but not expensive
  • Functional "as is" - without jumping through too many hoops

    So I cleaned all of the exterior surfaces. Removed the miniscule remnants of tooled leather that originally covered the open fields of pine you see here. Cleaned the old japanning from the strapping, and replaced the missing leather handles.

    Here you can see the original tooling pattern of the hide. From the indentations it was tooled in place after application.

    I love the details on the hardware

    A coat of amber shellac on the wood surfaces, yellow tinted shellac on the hardware and bone black pigment on the strapping. The interior I lined with fabric on removable mat board, so that it could be used for storage.

    I was gratifyingly surprised at how well it pulled together without going to extremes.

    Remnants of leather

    The Maker

    A little digging on the "internets" yielded a small amount of information on the maker.

    Who's who in Chicago 1905
    The book of Chicagoan s
    John William Leonard, author 

    Wilt, Charles T., manufacturer; born St Louis, Mo., Nov. 22, 1859;.
    Son of Charles T (Sr ) and Emerette A. (Babcock) Wilt; came to Chicago in childhood

    Education. Ogden, Newberry and Lincoln schools, graduating from latter

    Married Chicago, July 31, 1888 to Charlotte D Fairbairn;
    Children: Charles T., Jr., Collin D. Robert Lloyd Wheaton, Elmer Ellsworth.

    In 1878 entered business (founded by his father, 1862)of Charles T. Wilt, manufacturer in trunks traveling bags, etc.; is now head of firm, which is still conducted as Charles T. Wilt.

    Republican. Captain. 1st 111. Voluntary Infantry, served through Santiago campaign of Spanish-American War. Member of the Veteran Corps, 1st Regiment