French Trunk-makers has its origin in the box-maker and packer business.

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A Trunk-marker and tourism concurrent story.



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French trunk-makers have built their know-how on a extensive experience. The profession was already mentionned in the notorious encyclopédia by Diderot and d’Alembert, one of the most significant publication of the 18th century and symbol of illuministic philosophy.


The history of french trunk-makers begins in the 14th century. Four of five box-maker and trunk-maker craftsmans were reputed to master the art of packing and were in charge of royal journeys. The 25th June 1379 a common statute was set for differents trades such as saddler, box-meker and trunk-maker. Trunk-markers one century later ask the permission to concentrate into a corporation, which was granted to the seven of them by Charles IX of France.


At the turn of the 17th century carriages multiply, only two were existing in France 200 years before, taking in account the King’s hilmself carriage’s. Local leaders start to order trunks and boxes to craftman and saddlers attach the car bodywork to their trade. In 1596, by patent of its majesty Henry the 4th box-makers and trunks-makers as a corporation, and now considerably more numerous, obtain official statute.


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From box-maker and packer subcontractor to trunk-maker internationaly recognized.


First trunk-maker started to appear in fact in the middle of the 19th century. Au départ (1834), Le Grand Bazar (1943), Aux Etats-Unis (1845) and La Malle Bernard (1846) were the precursors. But Moynat (1849), Goyard (1953) and Louis Vuitton, paradoxically the last born, are the most notorious.


But their history is most of the time ancient. Starting as box-maker and packer, François Coulembier Louis Vuitton and François Goyard know-how is sold by the intermediate of official suppliers to nobles and crowned heads. Owning the heart, it didn’t take long to the craftsmen to emancipate from reseller.


The Coulembier took possession of their reseller Moynat, located on avenue de l’Opéra in Paris and kept the name of the official supplier. The Goyard inherited both know-how and business from Martin and Morel masters of Francois Goyard. The apprentice chose to put his name on the front like Morel before him claiming the relation with Martin. Louis Vuitton, perfectionist and creative, was in charge of Empress Eugénie de Montijo dress when as the best craftsman of Atelier Maréchal in Paris. After seventeen years of experience and expertise he decided to open its first shop at the 4, rue Neuves-des-capucines close to the place Vendôme.

Industrial revolution multiplied fortunes, bourgeoisie enriched, social climbers climbed, and travelling became the expression of the ultimate sophistication. Simultaneously distances were shortened by development of railways allowing french and western elite to travel the world. This very favorable environment launched the success story of trunk-makers.

Innovative trunks of the 19th century.


Middle-age trips were characterized by multi-layered stack of objects and garment sheltered first in wooden chests and gradually to the emerging trunks.


The differences between chests and trunks.


Production distinguish chests and trunks. Chests are made of noble and heavy wood—walnut or oak tree—when trunks are made of light wood—poplar, fir or fruit tree.

Trunks, designed to travel, are covered from leather or canvas on the outer, from paper or fabric inner. Chests are only thought of a content and have a rawer aspect.

Trunks, still with the goal of frequent movements, are reinforced by fittings and battens so it doesn’t break if it falls down. Chests, even built with rugged material, would not withstand a fall.

First trunks, not yet very functional.


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Firstly, in wicker—called British trunk—they were invented by Moynat, inspired by British chests used for cloth and picnics. Step by step, they were replaced by light leather-trimmed trunks but still not optimized for journeys, still close to chests.

The importance of flat trunks.


« Innovative and high-end luggage’s have to be created: luxury, functionality and innovation », Louis Vuitton.


This idea in mind Louis Vuitton created the astute flat trunk that revolutionized both trunk-maker trade and travelling. Trunks, of all sizes, permitted now to contain any object or cloth. But mostly the trunks can henceforth be piled up in railway cars or, dissimulated under a cruise ship bed.

The flat trunk simultaneously changed the trunk paradigm and announced the particular requests trend.

Special orders created the dedicated trunks.


From particular orders eccentricities came up but also new travelling standards. External size and interior design have been explored and flat trunks were variously divided.

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Wardrobe and dresser trunks.


It didn’t take long before dresser and wardrobe trunks were created. As its name suggests, those trunks are real luxury dressers and wardrobes. Specially compartmented so that cloths will not wrinkle.

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Les malles automobiles.


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Longtemps après les transports ferroviaires et maritimes les malles pour transport individuel se sont finalement développés au début du XXème siècle. Moynat lança en 1904 la malle « limousine » pour automobile, spécialement incurvée pour se poser sur le toit du véhicule. Une multitude de malle automobiles sur mesure ont vu le vu jour par la suite.

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