Sunday, August 01, 2004

History Of Leather Goods Continued

Leathergoods did not start to evolve until we started to travel. A bland statement, mankind has always moved around, armies traveled, tribes migrated, lone travelers undertook journeys by horse. But people did not travel on a regular basis. In early & late Medieval times most people lived and died in their own village it would have been an event to visit the nearest town. If people were forced to move they did it by cart uncomfortable and slow.

The First of the two branches of leathergoods developed in the large Seafaring cities as people started to travel abroard and populate the new developing colonies in America Canada and later Australia. The Cabinet Makers in these large Ports around the coast of England began to make 'Trunks' these ranged from the simple rounded toped trunk mainly used by seamen to larger square one and big 'Wardrobe Trunks' in which clothes could be hung. Quite an industry emerged devoted to the production of trunks and cabinet makers changed over from making furniture to just producing trunks to satisfy the demand. But that is all they did just make trunks for people to go on long journeys.

The trunks were made from wood using similar construction methods as they used to make items of furniture and the edges and corners were bound with metal strips, cheap ones with iron more expensive with brass. They were heavy and had handles at each end as it would need two people to carry them, labour was cheap in those days, so the wealthy could pay to have them carried for them. Few records relating to this part of history exist but we can trace this by the terminology used by cabinet makers. The handles, locks, etc. They put on trunks were referred to as 'Furniture' just as they were when fitted to chests, wardrobes, etc in fact the name migrated, as the pieces of home equipment made all began to be referred to as Furniture. The few trunks that are still used today still have this distinction as all additional attachments to the main box are referred to as furniture. They are also covered with a rexine type material or plastic coated cloth instead of the original painted finish it is not clear when this change of finish took place. To be continued.


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