Brettuns Village Trunks & Leather

Old Trunks, New Leather.  All from Maine.

October 19, 1999

Well, October is
half way gone, and your trunk refinishing project is

way behind schedule for
Christmas, isn’t it?  Don’t worry, your cousin

Sylvia can wait another
year to get her trunk from you.  Relax, have

some fresh cider, and get
a good fire going in the woodstove.

Still warm in your neck of
the woods?  Well, summer came to a close up

here rather abruptly once
again this year.  We’re back to scraping frost

off the buggy seat every
morning, and we’re in the peak of our fall

foliage season.  This
means the leaf gawkers are clogging roads all over

Maine.  If you’re up
this way be sure to keep one eye on the road – if

you forget to pay attention
you’ll be sporting a new hood ornament

before you know it. 
He’ll be mad, too.

News from the trunk shop
– we have a roller-ball trunk up for grabs on

the For Sale page – these
were made by several shops in the Milwaukee

and Detroit areas around
1880-1900.  The roller ball trunks have these

wicked looking rollers on
each corner, top and bottom, to fend off dents

and dings from other folks’
trunks.  Sort of like those sharp blade

thingees that spun a competitor’s
wheels to sawdust in the old chariot

races.  These roller
ball trunks had only one thing in common – each had

the trademark rollers from
the US Roller Co on them.  A label on the

bottom usually identifies
only the maker of the fender balls themselves,

not the rest of the trunk. 
The label has a graphic picture of several

broken trunks on the dock,
while the roller ball model sits there,

shining in its glory. 
The picture was considered racy in some areas,

because it actually showed
a woman’s corset spilled out on the dock

(from the trunk, not from
the owner).  That’s why these labels only

appeared on the bottom of
the trunk.  That’s some trunk trivia for you.

We’ve had several customers
take us up on our offer to help them

evaluate trunks for sale
on EBay and other online auction sites.  We’re

glad to help.  If you
haven’t heard of this service, it really is

simple.  If you see
a trunk you like somewhere on the web, send us a

link to it and ask our opinion. 
We try to be fair and on the level.

We’ll tell you what we think
the trunk is worth and what questions to

ask.  Sort of like
consultants, but without the frequent flier miles,

exorbitant fees, or hideous
ties.  (OK, I do have a hideous tie, but

Amanda won’t tell me which
one it is, just that one of my ties is

hideous.  My hands
shake when I pick one out for the occasional power

meeting I might attend with
the local Ducks Unlimited chapter or


We’re producing our own line
of replacement trunk handles, which may be

of interest to you refinishers
out there.  I hope to have them on the

site by the end of the month
(I’m not saying which month).  I’ve become

somewhat dissatisfied with
the quality of replacement handles currently

available out there, so
I figured we should just make our own.  Heck,

we’re in Maine, home of
some of the country’s most talented leather

workers.  We’ve found
a plant that will make them to our specifications,

and we’ll be able to sell
them for less than they cost elsewhere.  Our

goal is to provide near
exact replicas of the originals, made of several

layers of leather, stitched
and glued, and dyed to meet the big three

color choices (black, brown,
maroon).  We might even have some fancy

models, with embossed flowers. 
I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

It’s hunting season now,
and the birds are flying.  Rif Shaper and Norm

Broussard, a couple of trunk
nuts if ever there were any, were upcountry

trying to find a partridge
or two.  They camped up by Cliff Lake and

were all settled in for
the night when a big bear showed up in the

campsite.  Norm started
lacing up his shoes, and Rif hollers, “Norm, you

derned fool, you know you
can’t outrun a bear!”

Norm, very calmly, turns
to Rif and says, “Well………See, Rif, the

way I figures it, I only
have to outrun you.”  Keep that in mind when

you’re choosing your camping
partners this Fall.

We made it up to Baxter State
Park in early October, a truly spectacular

place.  Baxter Peak,
on Mount Katahdin, marks the northern terminus (I

didn’t even know I knew
that word) of the Appalachian Trail.  There was

snow up top, which we were
satisfied seeing from the campsite down

bottom.  The girls
aren’t quite up to that climb yet, (ages 5 and 7),

but in another year or two
they should be able to carry me up.  Make a

point to visit Baxter someday. 
There are roughly 140,000 acres of old

wilderness, one dirt road
(single lane), no electricity, lost of ponds,

lakes, and streams, and
plenty of Maine wildlife.  On your way up there,

be sure to stop in the shop
to get a few trunks for your porters to lug

up the mountain.

We currently have 24 trunks
in the shop, most of which we haven’t

touched yet.  We’ve
been busy refinishing trunks for customers

(including Marcie in NYC
who sent us 14 to refinish – bless your heart,

Marcie) and running the
leather business.  That part of the barn has

seen some wild activity
in September and October.  We’re not sure why,

but it’s been a hoot, to
say the least.

So get your fire roaring,
grab some good old cider (not that pasteurized

garbage), put on your wool
socks, and read “Tender is the Night” once

more to warm your innards. 
Always warm here, so stop in when you can.

Til next time-

Churchill and Amanda Barton

Brettuns Village