Chest – Trunk, the difference :
If we think, generally speaking, that the frontier between trunk and chest is very vague, we can nevertheless find some elements to help us to define what a trunk is.
Wooden pieces of furniture
First of all, a trunk is a piece of furniture which almost systematically has, in its original condition, an exterior coating (canvas, leather, imitation leather, pegamoid, or mere fabric), and an interior coating (paper, fabric, relon, leather…), unlike any kind of chest, with some exceptions of course. (to make things simpler!) Trunks are mainly made of common wood (poplar, fir, fruit tree…), preferably light, whereas chests are often made of fine wood such as walnut or oak and, depending on the regions, of fir (heavy wood).
Primary function of a trunk : travelling
The primary function of a trunk is to travel and, for that purpose, it must be light and strong. That is why trunk makers reinforce the box with hardware and slats. Thus a trunk that would fall from a loading dock is flexible and strong enough not to break, unlike a wooden chest whose framework, though very solid, will not resist a violent impact on an edge, for instance.
➡️ Click to learn more about the history of trunks and luggage.
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