Mognat of Paris Steamer Trunk


This Mognat of Paris family steamer trunk ca 1900, has been round the world many times.  The heirs brought it to us to clean, stabilize the inner lining, create new handles, and to preserve the character of the outer trunk memories if possible — stickers!

We do not often have the opportunity to conserve trunks
because they are so expensive to restore — many people think they would be fun,
and then see the price.  But this was a beloved family members trunk,
and the family wants to be able to gently use it in their home.

ASSESSMENT

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Above, a basic slideshow showing all sides.

Note the color difference in the front of the trunk and the bottom —
the front and sides once showed off this lovely patterning!
We hope to remove enough grime that we can again see the patterning.

Details of the front.
Note the original handle?
This is the pattern of the handle we will recreate not only
for the front, but the sides as well.

Examples of sticker and labels we will attempt to preserve.

The upper insert with its degrading lining and ties will be removed, cleaned, and stabilized.  The bottom and top lining is in good condition: we will test it for cleaning
and see if it is a good candidate for cleaning while attached.

Note the strapping’s jacquard has the Mognat name woven into the fabric, image 6 above.

EXCAVATION

The original leather handle was removed as it was terribly degraded:
we will use this as a pattern to create three new handles,
as the handles on each side are missing.

Note the color difference in the front of the trunk and the bottom —
the front and sides once showed off this lovely patterning!
We hope to remove enough grime that we can again see the patterning.

CLEANING

We test cleaned the left-facing outside back of the trunk, beginning with the least
invasive to the most invasive.  The trunk is covered with a type of oil cloth; because of this,  we decided not to test Vulpex because of its tremendous ability to remove oils —
it might damage the oil cloth.  We always start with distilled water.
Neither distilled water nor Orvus really had any impact.  We finally tried a mild solution
of Borax and organic unscented dishwashing detergent, followed by rinsing.
This moved the grime without damaging the oil cloth!

The entire exterior of the chest was carefully cleaned using this protocol.

After cleaning, the leather was treated to retard the spread of
red rot and degradation using Klucel G.

Under construction.  Check back!

 

Written by Kate Powell  ©MPF Conservation.
May be printed for your own use ONLY, not for use on blogs without permission.