SEACHESTS
PAGE TWO
Last rev. Aug 12 2010
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An "English" style six-board seachest ascribed to ca. 1800:  The strap hinges
seem a bit "spindly" to me and may be replacements: there is obvious damage
to the inner top where a previous hinge tore away.  These could be the
originals, but chests of that era and up to the 1840's usually had strap hinges
that ran almost the full width of the lid and which also strapped down into the
chest as well.  

Looks like Chestnut wood,  strongly dovetailed with appropriate cleating. The
beckets are probably originals, as well, given their condition.  

Till is missing inside and the size of the slide-rails is a bit mystifying.  This was
probably an officer's chest.  Original lockset and grasp are still in place,
although most likely the mechanism has long since been disabled.

( A sailor would never have something made of Walnut aboard a ship, as that
was the wood most commonly used for coffins!)
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Another interesting chest,  with "full" strap hinges
across the top, the till (missing it's cover), skirted
bottom and looking like it is a pine six-board
construction with small dovetails, indicating a
furniture maker made this up for someone.

Straight-sided with no tumblehome.... I'd estimate it
to be later 1800's construction.
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A nicely made tumblehome chest, six-board construction which
has had somewhat of a hard life... the front side appears to
have been broken and repaired.  The becket visible would also
appear to be a repair/replacement, as I doubt the axle
turksheads would have remained quite that brilliant over the
years.  

In style, it appears to be from the age of whaling, but I suspect
it to be of more "modern"  (early 1900's) vintage.  Of course, it
could have been brought home by a whaler and stored
somewhere, but....  

Still, a very pretty example of a tumblehome seachest.
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Counter
A very nice cant-front (straight-back and sides) chest made of ELM, rather an unusual wood for a  seachest  and all the more
notable as it appears to be solid boards on the top, sides and back!  16" x 36" x 16", two  re-enforced tills and the original
lockset AND key!  An easily bent and shaped wood, elm was for that reason not suitable for construction purposes, but was
excellent for boat and barge building, keels and other uses on shipboard where a certain "give" in the wood would be helpful
(the Hearts, especially, were often made of elm) and it was very water and moisture resistant. Although its appearance here in
a chest would therefore be rather  logical, it is not at all common  Use of elm and the construction typify this as an English
chest of the mid 19th century.
I always hesitate about posting a new chest as I want to make sure of it's authenticity whenever possible.  This chest is a wonderful example of "folk art"
painting, but what convinced me it was the "real thing" is that the name has been scribed into the lid in three places... obviously the maker was looking
for the best place to put it, typical of a sailor... "Cut to Fit, File to Match, Paint to Hide".  Here is a Large seachest which appears to be from "Miels Clark"
of Haddam, CT.  Box appears to be of 1830's-40's construction or perhaps a bit earlier due to the large size of the boards used.  The decoration and
name may have been added in the 1860's or '70 by a new owner.  
Exterior of chest in
a blue buttermilk
paint.  Several
"dings" and
surface wear
consistent with
age.
Exterior right end with
becket in place.  
Probably a
replacement but a
plain grommet was
common in
second-owner chests.
Interior of chest
shewing where
missing "till" was
once installed.  In
remarkable shape
for age!
This looks like the
original lock and tang
still in place.  Wanna
take a bet on where
the key is?
Exterior bottom of
chest: one large
pine board.
Detail of the
replacement hinges
used in the lid...
these are definitely
late Victorian
manufacture.
Inner lid detail.  You may
attach whatever significance
you wish to the composition of
the flag: it is most probably just
the result of an uneducated
artist.  (11 stripes??)

Also, whaddya wanna bet this
guy's name was "Miles", nor
"Miels"?
Shews that the lid
was once attached
with early-period
"strap" hinges which
would indicate
early 1800's
construction.
3/4 view of the
chest: (The "John
Barrymore" pose.)
The full lid and
artwork as well as
the new hinges
and old hinge
marks.
spam
Do YOU own or have pictures of an
outstanding seachest?  Share them with
the interested of the world here.  
CONTACT me.
Page ONE         MODERN CHESTS
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