|Vintage Hartmann Cushion Top Wardrobe Trunk
A Restoration For Our Friend Carolyn
Completed April 2008
|Among the more complex trunks you will find are the vintage wardrobe trunks. In this case, a
Hartmann Cushion Top Trunk. Joseph Hartmann started his trunk and luggage manufacturing
company in 1877. They started in Milwaukee and as the business grew, relocated to Racine,
Wisconsin. The factory was sizable and Hartmann put together a large variety of trunks, luggage,
and other fine quality leather and travel related items. In the 1950's, the company transferred
ownership and relocated to Tennessee where, and after 130 years, it continues producing fine
quality luggage, bags, and various cases still bearing the Hartmann name.
Measuring 40"L X 25"H X 21"W, this Hartmann Cushion Top Wardrobe Trunk is very heavy made
and built to withstand extensive travel. As with most manufactures, there are various grades and
levels of quality that you can pay for. This is a pretty nice and there were other models with various
features and styling that were available over the years. It is loaded with thick steel hardware and a
full interior with a complex drawer latch system. Major heavy and quite rusty interior work needed
as well. Our plan is to take our time as required to enable this once basement confined trunk to be
something that can be proudly displayed in Carolyn's living room.
Of note is that this particular wardrobe trunk traveled extensively with Carolyn as she toured with
the world famous Ice Capades. Also note the rust under the label.
|All the rusty metal and nail heads inside and out were cleaned up (it sounds easy) and either given a
protective coating or painted as appropriate to its location. The old finish on the outer covering was
removed and then retreated. Most of the brass coating was not in condition to save other than the
nice Yale lock with working key that shows some age but provides some contrast and carefully
cleaned. All labels were saved.
|After thinking hard on the matter, I decided to save most of the original interior. When new, it was
just flat out nice with the covering over the drawers made specifically for this trunk wish matched
patterns and borders. Everything was removed and carefully cleaned. The covering over the rusted
metal edges on the drawers was chipping so was trimmed and the edges re-glued. Other small area
were patched or just touched up with a matched paint. Most of the once silver hardware was then
painted black and then everything given a odorless protective finish to seal it. The wood hangers
were refinished as well.
|The cushion top material was replaced and the Hartmann label reattached. The material concealing
the hanger section was replaced.
|Our thanks to Carol for her patience as we completed the work. The label from Ice Capade was
|Antique Trunk Restoration