Sunday, March 16, 2014

Antique Army Footlocker

On a recent stop at the Goodwill up the street I happened upon this wonderful vintage military footlocker.  It had been an auction item that no one picked up, so on the sales floor it went...just in time for me to purchase!  
There was an odd layer of a sticky, wet substance that appeared to be a brown varnish covering it, but I loved the hardware! and knew it was a piece I absolutely had to rescue!

I took it home and gently washed it.  The mysterious "varnish" wiped off nicely, but I could see that someone at one point had painted over some stenciling that once appeared on the front.
 Using the magnification of my camera, it reveals a New York address -
 58th Street, Brooklyn, New York
I looked the address up on the Internet and sure enough that is the address for the Brooklyn Army Terminal, once the largest military supply base for the U.S. Army through WWII.

Thankfully the stenciling on the footlocker's top was still visible! Though, it does look as if someone had attempted to paint over it. 

The trunk is made of wood with a "...hard pressed heat treated material called vulcanized fiber."(1.)  It once had a leather handle on each side, though they've since broken off.  Bits of leather are still hanging on!

The back of the footlocker has the clearest original stenciling.  I am so pleased this was left alone!  I adore the markings, as they reveal a bit of the trunk's history.  
It is a bit difficult to make out as it appears that there is writing on top of other writing, but I can see clearly, " TRANS OFFICER, VIENNA, AUSTRIA TO TRANS OFFICER LANDSHUT, GERMANY"

In an attempt to try to date the trunk, I looked at the clasps and lock.  They definitely look older than 1940s.

 The trunk plate on the top of the trunk provided the most information.  After searching names of trunk companies, I discovered this was from Rogers Trunk Company and this particular "...trunk was made under government contract for the U.S. military under specifications of the contract issued on 6/28/21," and was likely manufactured in 1921 - 1922.

As I've said many times, the most intriguing part of being a junker isn't always the finding of a special item.  Rather, it's the discovery of the facts about, and history of, the item and the unveiling real or imagined tales of adventure!

Cited Source:
Miller, Marvin.  "Vintage Trunk - Rogers Trunk Corp, Follow up."  All Experts., 15 May 2013.  Wed. 16 Mar. 2014. 

All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.

1 comment:

  1. It's not so much the thing as the thing's story to tell us. I have two old military pieces of luggage--a suitcase and a trunk, both named to officers. I have not yet tracked down either of these officers. I don't like giving up on these great pieces because each was very reasonable to purchase at garage sales--and the story is there somewhere to find. Helps to keep my old brain active!


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