Copper lock - Louis Vuitton cabin trunk from 1890

Louis Vuitton Cabin Trunk

Louis Vuitton Cabin Trunk


When we received this little trunk cabin checkered canvasunpretentious we were far from imagining the discovery that awaited us.



We have seen thousands of Louis Vuitton trunks , restored hundreds and it is rare to make a discovery of this nature.

cabine trunk Louis Vuitton inside

This checkerboard trunk dates from 1890. It is an important year at Louis Vuitton.



From this date, the closing of the trunks of first quality is ensured by "lockable" locks , whose mechanism is patented as indicated on the locks themselves.



Each lock has a number corresponding to its own key. This number is unique for each trunk, unless a customer wants to open all their luggage with a single key.



The trunks of second quality are closed by black lacquered steel locks , without engraving or key number.


This top quality model had a steel lock, but it was engraved. This information intrigued us.

trunk Louis Vuitton coppery


When cleaning the steel clasps, we found that there were red residues like copper . So we did the disassembly to understand.



The set of clasps and the lock was coppery ! This discovery was incredible!



We have seen in the past locks silvered brass (nickel), black lacquered steel , nails in solid copper but never lock and copper clasps!

red lock Louis Vuitton cooper trunk

X-ray fluorescence spectrometer analysis

X-ray fluorescence spectrometer analysis


In order to have the confirmation of this discovery we had laboratory analysis of the surface treatment by the best in the field, Bertin Aubert   Expert in Paris since 1936 electroplating electrolysis.



The analysis consists in highlighting the substrate and original deposit thanks to the spectrum observed by an X-ray fluorescence apparatus . This apparatus analyzes the matter without destroying it.Used to measure and identify one or more layers of coatings in the metal surface treatment industry.

Surface treatment

Surface treatment trunk lock Paris


The results confirmed that this was a copper plating .



We have re-coppered the metal by Maison Bertin Aubert , to find the original finish.



The problem of copper is that it oxidizes very quickly, very very quickly, and since it is a coating of a few tenths of a millimeter, after twenty cleaning the steel reappears.



It is for this reason that there is no longer any trunk with visible copper clasps and locks.

Pass on this legacy

Pass on this legacy

These trunks were not "rare" because they were produced in a short time just after the patent filing of the throat lock in September 1889. They were not uncommon as were the aluminum trunks for example.But none has come down to us because of oxidation.



Normally we do not glaze our brass because solid brass can be cleaned without damage. For this restoration we did a sprain to the rule. Our wish is to be able to transmit this heritage to future generations by perpetuating the copper plating that we have baked in the oven by Louis Vuitton's subcontractor. Indeed the golden elements with high wear such as buckles and other bag accessories are varnished in the oven.

Throat lock

Throat lock trunk Louis Vuitton


We have restored the locking mechanism of the lock . This is the very first 3-bolt lock version .



This one was in an incredible state considering its age, we only did a cleaning.



We took the opportunity to carve an old key



It is always nice to hear the lock mechanism close and open to protect the contents.

Rivets restoration

Rivets restoration trunk Louis Vuitton

This generation of Louis Vuitton rivets used in the year 1890 is very special. The diameter of the brass head is unique as well as the absence of engraving Louis Vuitton *. The rod as for it is as always in steel.



The process of restoring a rivet seems simple, yet it is very complex.The metal risks breaking because of its plastic deformation (ductility of the metal).



This is the boilermaker's know-how.



These steps are essential to find all the properties of the metal and get a perfect riveting.


Riveting Louis Vuitton trunk

Riveting or riveting is the heart of the truncheon 's business.



This technique of assembly and permanent fixation, widely used in the 19 th century; before the appearance of the oxyacetylene weld, allowed a very strong and compact assembly.



Riveting will also be used for the assembly of sheets that the heat does not deform unlike welding.

trunk Vuitton french riveting

It was found for assembly:

  • Steam machine
  • Railway
  • Grid (gate)
  • Lock
  • ...
  • Metal frame
  • Work of art
  • The pond Garibaldi (1884) 700 000 rivets
  • The Eiffel Tower (1890) 2.5 million rivets
  • Shipbuilding :
  • The Titanic (1909)
  • Normandy (1935)
  • Aeronautics:
  • Bombardier (1943)
red lock Louis Vuitton trunk Cooper

It is still widely used in aeronautics for its lightness and reliability, but also in the automotive industry because it is inexpensive while offering a significant resistance voltage.



It is not for nothing that Louis Vuitton chose this method of assembly for his trunks.



We recognize perfect riveting when the head is not deformed and it is perfectly plated to the element it reads.



There is no mark around the head of the nail. The riveting is done in a traditional way with a rivet and a riveting hammer.



The work is clean and precise.

Inside the trunk

inside the trunk Louis Vuitton


Inside everything is preserved, only torn ribbons of the capiton are replaced identically.



Disassembly is done with care because each nail of capiton is rested.We save a maximum of original elements.


Trunk Louis Vuitton red lock Cooper rare

129 years elapsed between the moment this trunk came out of the Louis Vuitton workshops in Asnières sur Seine and the moment we restored it.We run after time to find the original state of the most beautiful luxury trunks.



This restoration required the combination of the best craftsmen , in chemistry for the electroplating, in the malletry for the know-how borrowed from carpentry, leather goods, upholstery ...



It was an amazing and exciting restoration !



Safeguard, protect, preserve the French heritage.

Before after

Read also:

zinc trunk Louis Vuitton old


Old trunk restoration for or against?


This is a conversation that we have several times a week with novices or amateurs on the importance of restoring a trunk or not. Some tracks to be fully aware of a topic rarely discussed. This article will help you to see more clearly.




French page : Louis Vuitton red lock