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Round Top Trunks

Please note that all of the trunks below are EXAMPLES. They are NOT FOR SALE.


We have grouped round top trunks as follows

A. True Round Tops

  • Metal-Covered
  • Leather-Covered
  • Wooden

B. Dome Tops (or Camel Back or Hump Back) Metal-Covered


1. Metal-Covered


a. Mild Dome


b. Very High Dome


2. Barrel Stave


a. Metal-Covered


b. Leather-Covered


c. Wooden


A. True Round Tops

A true round top trunk has a top that slopes only from the center to the front and back. From side to side, the crest of the top is the same height all the way across the top of the trunk. The following examples show true round tops.

1. Metal-Covered Round Tops

The following examples are called metal round tops since the area between the staves is covered in tin. Beneath the tin is a wooden body.
Plain, “flat” metal covered round top.
Wide Stave Travel Trunk

Staves are much wider and sometimes thicker than other trunks. This style is also unique in that the embossed pattern was many times left unpainted.

Three-Panel Round Tops

The name comes from the three panels on the front. They are repeated on the top and sometimes on the back. Here all three sections are covered in tin; sometimes the outer two sections were covered in paper, sometimes they were left plain wood.

Medium Round Top With Pattern

This example has vertical staves on the front, most had horizontal staves.

2. Leather-Covered Round Tops

These were covered in plain tanned leather, tooled leather or hide. The hides were usually cowhide or deerskin.
Tooled Leather-Covered Round Top

The pattern was usually burned into the leather.

Hide-Covered Round Top

This example is covered in deerskin and was probably an immigrant’s trunk.

3. Wooden Round Tops

The wooden body was covered with just the staves, hardware and trim pieces. 
Short Stave Wooden Round Top

The name comes from the staves that did not reach both ends of the trunk. This one has brass slat clamps at the ends.

B. Dome Tops, Humpbacks, Camelbacks

These names are interchangeable and mean about the same thing. These trunks slope from the center to the front and back, AND from the center to each end. The crest slopes up from each end of the top of the trunk to the apex of the dome. span>

1. Metal-Covered Dome Tops

These were covered in plain flat tin or embossed tin.Most had a combination of the two metals.
Mild Dome

Note the small difference in height of each end of the trunk compared to the height of the center.

High Dome.

Note how much higher the crest of the top is in the center compared to both ends. This example has both vertical and horizontal staves on the front.

2. Barrel Stave Trunks

The staves on the domed top of these trunks run lengthwise to the trunk. When viewed from above the top looks very much like the side of a wooden barrel, hence the name.
Metal Barrel Stave

The background between the staves is covered in metal. This example has an embossed pattern.

 Leather-Covered Barrel Stave

This example has tooled leather on it.

Wooden Barrel Stave

The background wood is usually pine and the staves are hardwood, usually oak or ash.

LOTS MORE history of antique trunks on our

Encyclopedia of Antique Trunks CD/Kindle eBook

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