Made to Last: Hartmann Gibraltarized Wardrobe Trunk

An impromptu visit to Mom turned into a treasure hunt around local vintage haunts. My keen eye and interest for well-constructed and interesting pieces was cultivated from a young age by parents who took no care in dragging their offspring to auctions, boot sales, and bazaars. Perhaps this is why I feel perfectly comfortable navigating arcades, aisles, and rooms filled with dusty artifacts. But it was on one unseasonably warm February afternoon in Southern California that I happened to walk into one of the largest and most exciting finds I’ve had yet.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe that I have found a prime example of a Hartmann Gibraltarized Panama Wardrobe Trunk from the 1920s like the one pictured in this trade book from 1922. Thanks to Google Books and their grand digitization efforts, I’ve been able to track down a handful of advertisements featured in periodicals. Such gems include:

The trunk I happened to stumble upon is a great example of a personalized trunk that could have been a gift for a graduation, birthday, or wedding. The exterior has the initials E.R. stamped in red. Though the original Yale lock is still intact, the keyhole was busted open some time ago.

Hartmann Gibraltarized Panama Trunk

Hartmann Gibraltarized Panama Trunk

 

The Yale lock bar for the interior drawers, pant hangers, shirt hangers, laundry bag, and shoe box are all in accompaniment.

Hartmann Gibraltarized Panama Wardrobe Trunk  interior

Hartmann Gibraltarized Panama Wardrobe Trunk interior

The trunk has seen some light wear in its 95 years. The rusting bolts, hinges, and corner brackets only add to its overall charm. Though the trunk is in overall decent repair, it is missing one drawer; and the H and A in the Hartmann cross logo on the side of the trunk have since flaked off due to handling. The rest of the label is cracked and barely adhered. I bet a kitten’s sneeze could dislodge it.

I’m in the process of rearranging my home office/bar (because, priorities) and eager to transform this well-maintained wardrobe trunk into an office supply organizer. Perhaps one day it’ll serve its duty during a move, but for now I’ll be perfectly content displaying this unique find while also having a non-traditional spot to stash stationary and stuff.

Have you found an interesting piece of luggage or a trunk and repurposed it in your home? I’d love to find out what other creative, vintage enthusiasts are doing with their wardrobe trunks. Please comment below or Tweet!

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Hidden Treasures in the Attic: the Vintage Metal Cabinet

Tucked away in the corner of a far flung A-framed room, walls donning seafaring paper, sat an unassuming cabinet. Lets be honest though, it was the blue velvet jacket and red tartan pants on the wardrobe rack that completely distracted me. Either way, after making our way through a storybook home for the ages, the mister spotted a green metal cabinet with art deco details that speaks to modern sensibilities. The wheels on the bottom are made out of wood. There are no tags or stamps to speak of on the cabinet, but from a very basic search I gather that this is a piece of mid century office furniture. Though the rounded top and art deco design on the front speak to another time, the mass-fabrication & distribution of such an item lands in a more modern time frame.

Here is a similar cabinet to the one we found recently:

acorn cabinet

The cabinet that we found doesn’t have a top handle though, and it looks most closely akin to this cabinet that is part of a TOTALLY RAD fold out desk that’s for sale on ebay right now. I’m seriously considering the idea of putting together a pop-up office consisting of this desk, my Seminole camping chair, and my Chromebook. Come to think of it, this is exactly why I bought a new car with a hatchback. Oh the possibilities! But, I digress . . .

Once I gather more info on it’s background, I’ll share a photo of a dusted off cabinet we found. Well, that’s if I haven’t taken it to the office & turned it into a bar on wheels.

What would you do with a versatile piece of mid century office furniture on wheels? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

Have passport, will travel.

I recently picked up a folding, portable writing case and found some treasures tucked away in it’s pockets. I’ve been going through each item methodically and trying to date them because they seem to have been prized mementos from adventures abroad in England, France, Germany, and Canada.

There is a stamp booklet (unlike the ones we get from the USPS nowadays) which helped me date the writing case itself. The domestic postage rate is listed as 2 cents. I researched the history of US postage rates and found out that the 2 cent rate was reintroduced on July 1, 1919 after the price-hike of the war years.

The contents of the writing case are from post-WWI era Europe. There is even a French promotional calendar from 1935. Between the contents of the case and the history of postage rates, I think that this writing case is from the 1920s.

Image

folding writing set from the 1920s with 1930s ephemera.