furniture with secret compartments
Searching for old/hidden items?
This may sound silly but only serious answers please....
My parents purchased land that has an old farm house on it that is from late 18 to early 1900's. They are going to demolish the house to build a new one due to its condition. The structure is safe to enter. Neighbors claim items may be left behind in "hidden" compartments, etc. and wanted to tear at things to find them. So we're going to try to find if there really is something left behind (money, maps, etc.)
Is there any specific places where others have found things left behind?
There is no furniture in the house, just rooms with fixtures, walls, etc. The neighbor did say there is a secret compartment under the steps on the back of the 3rd step up. Not sure what's in it if there is anything. (We didnt go to the house yet to look)
I saw on a TV show where this couple purchased a old home and when remodeling, they found money wedged in a stud in the bathroom wall, etc.
Look for cuts in wood that don't seem to belong there. Floors were a common hiding place as were steps and other "out of the way" places. A metal detector could be used for searching the property and provide entertainment at the same time. You can buy cheap ones at Target and even some more expensive models. I have a National Geographic Kids detector from Target for about $15. I also have a Garrett that costs over $200.
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A furniture with hidden secret drawers
Steamer trunks date back only a few centuries since they are basically luggage trunks and were the first chests to be used as carry on luggage. These storage trunks were normally called cabin trunks or 'packers' at the time. In later years they have been known only as steamer trunks since they were so widely used on steamer ships by the passengers. These earliest steamer trunks were usually flat on top so that they could be stacked or placed under the berths on trains or placed in cabins on steamers since they were smaller in dimension in comparison to blanket chests. They were made with small compartment trays for the owners valuables which were too precious to be stored along with all of the other huge storage chests in the main holding area.
The defining features of steamer trunks are their slightly-curved or flat tops which were normally decorated in leather, patterned paper or canvas. The outside was re-enforced with slats and metal hardware at the corners which enabled them withstand heavy jostling. The hardware would have been made out of brass or iron, depending on the age. Iron hardware was the older of the two. This hardware was usually plain in nature since it needed to be high performance in usage. Some steamer chest trunks were given leather straps which circled around the outside and fastened with a buckle.
The inside would have been finished with wall paper, a nice cloth covering which may have been padded, finely sanded wood. or cedar slats. These steamer trunks were fitted with tray and compartment systems that ranged in style and complexity. A simple system would comprise a document box, a shirt compartment, a hat box and a coin box. Victorian style storage trunks were of the more complex style. Secret storage compartments were strategically integrated into these complex styles along with a coin box and two or more of the shirt compartments, hat boxes and document boxes.
The wood used in the construction of steamer trunks was pine for the inner box which was then covered in other decorative and protective materials. Oak slats were used to great advantage by some manufacturers in this process due to their strength. The more expensive wooden chests were created from these oak slats placed horizontally or vertically over the pine frame. Elaborate looking trunks were created with slats stained in different colors which gave them a very distinctive and attractive look and are highly sought after by heirloom collectors. All of these oak slat trunk chests were professionally made which made them of greater value than other styles.
Earlier styles were covered in studded hide or leather which resembled the furniture of the day. This was typical since the furniture manufacturers would of course make chest trunks out of the same materials as their other furniture pieces. Later on steamer trunks were decorated with plain or embossed tin, canvas and/or paper which were then rein-enforced with wood slats and hardware to keep all of the decorative pieces in place.
Steamer trunks stopped being in high demand for travelers once light weight luggage started being produced. These nostalgic storage trunks have since been used to add a great finishing touch to every decor style. Blanket Chest Heirlooms.com has beautiful examples of handcrafted steamer trunks made from hardwood oak.