The difference between a Trunk and a Chest, is that a trunk was intended for travel use, whilst a chest is used for storing items in the home. So a trunk is more robustly made and probably less elegant. It certainly wouldn't have been made from any fine wood, rather a solid and hard wearing one, often bound in iron to help protect the wood and it's contents from rough handling. Trunks have been around for thousands of years in places like China, and it wasn't until the early 20th Century that they were supplanted by the suitcase.
The style of a trunk and the hardware it is decorated with can help to date it, as there are various styles which were in at certain periods. Whlst few people use trunks when travelling today, they are still much in demand as decorative storage in the home.
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