Relevant categories: Cabinets and Chests
(Above photo - Mahogany Campaign Chest of Drawers Colonial Furniture )
As European militaries engaged in war campaigns in the 18th century, they needed to carry their items. They had very few options except the campaign chest of drawers, which could fit in almost everything they owned as military personnel.
During the Napoleonic wars, furniture designers built chests of drawers, which soldiers could easily break into two portions for easy transportation. That’s because soldiers needed to move around more frequently from one camp to another. They used the chests to carry military equipment, clothes, and other valuables. Later on, the British created specialized trunks for use by their soldiers on campaigns abroad.
This article discusses some of the most common features of campaign chests of drawers with the view of helping you identify one. Keep reading for more information.
(Above photo - Leather campaign chest of drawers )
A typical campaign chest of drawers exists in two pieces to make it easier for soldiers to transport it. Due to specifications provided by the law, furniture makers had to limit the size of the chest. So, instead of making one piece, they stacked together two pieces resulting in the whole. Since British soldiers mostly used mules for transportation, having a chest in two parts was most convenient. The pieces could hang on either side of the mule, creating the perfect balance.
Of course, one of the most obvious features of a campaign chest of drawers is just that – drawers. Therefore, when brought together, campaign chests looked no different from similar furniture types. Usually, it has taller drawers at the bottom, carrying the weight of the shorter ones, which were at the top. When stacked together, it looked like any other chest of drawers in any home.
(Above photo - Antique Campaign Chest )
Even though campaign chests tended to feature different feet, the most common style was the square feet. Other chests of drawers, however, had turned feet, which soldiers could remove using wooden screws. It shouldn’t surprise you to find a campaign chest of drawers with bracket feet like that of the traditional chests of drawers.
Soldiers would often add bracket feet when they were through with their campaigns and needed to use the chests of drawers for other purposes. Still, some chests of drawers had a combination of several feet types, such as square feet getting paired with bracket or turned feet.
(Above photo - Chest of drawers and campaign desk secretaire )
Typically, a campaign chest of drawers had brass handles to the drawers for pulling out or pushing in. Furniture makers screwed the brass handles to the wood to provide reliable support. Also, each of the two chests had handles on either side for carrying them while loading and offloading the mules.
Chests for senior officers had three pieces, which soldiers could assemble to create desks. Even though they were away engaged in war campaigns, the offers had perfect surfaces on which they could work. For example, they could sit on s folding chair and draft orders to dispatch to field officers.
If you are looking for a campaign chest of drawers, be sure to reach out to us. We have plenty of these furniture pieces in our store, providing you with all that you need.
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