Wood, Vulcanized Fiber, Leather, Metal, Cotton
This trunk was designed by George Herken sometime between 1909 and 1922. It’s covered with vulcanized fiber. This is an early kind of plastic. It’s much stronger than leather.
A box trunk like this might be used by wealthy women who needed large trunks to take their children for extended summer vacations either in America or in Europe. The trunk would be packed with clothes, swimming costumes, books, and anything else needed for a long holiday. Travelling salesmen called “drummers” also used big trunks like this to carry samples like sewing machines, typewriters, or even bicycle parts.
Terri Karsten teaches high school English at Cochrane-Fountain City School District, and works for the district as the curriculum director. Fascinated by the things and people of the past, she also writes historical fiction.
Acrylic on Canvas
The idea the trunk could have been filled with any number of things, from a travelling salesman’s wares to a child’s boarding school possessions, led me to create an investigative piece. It shows creatures of another time/place/imagination interacting with the trunk and discovering its history from the objects within.
Kim Vaughter is a painter and fabric artist living in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She enjoys colorful things, tattoos, red lipstick, and expanding her ever-growing collection of paintings.