Antiques, History

Oshkosh Luggage

Oshkosh Trunk

You never know the treasures you will run into each day. Last weekend I got my vintage stove that will be going in my new kitchen, and now this week I bought a suitcase made right here in Oshkosh. I was so stunned when I found a travel bag made in Oshkosh. So, once again, I had some history to discover.

The Oshkosh Trunk Company was started in 1902 and operated out of a factory on High St. The firm produced quality wardrobe trunks (exclusively). Its signature line of luggage called the “Chief” was styled with red and yellow striped canvas.  In 1927 the company began manufacturing smaller travel luggage. The Oshkosh Trunk Company was acquired by Plotkin Brothers, a Chicago firm, in 1939. The Plotkin Brothers owned several other luggage companies, and added Oshkosh Trunk Company to add quality luggage to its product line. After the merger the Oshkosh company’s name was changed to Oshkosh Trunk and Luggage Company. The company fell on hard times, and the Oshkosh factory was closed in 1961.

Oshkosh Trunk Company (Oshkosh Public Library)

Too bad my suitcase was not the “Chief” line with red and yellow stripes, but I can keep a lookout for one. The plan is to turn this piece of luggage into a craft box for my wife’s sewing and knitting supplies. Another interesting tidbit I found while doing this search was how the “Chief” is making a comeback in small handbags. Apparently someone was inspired by this high-quality line of luggage with the slogan that boasted, “There is none finer.”


7 thoughts on “Oshkosh Luggage”

  1. we have received what appears to be a Chief Oshkosh trunk that is in pretty good condition. based on the pictures on the website. Is there a site that would assist in determining a value.

    1. Boy, I really do not know much about the value of them. What is the approx. size of the trunk? Is it one with the yellow and red stripes?

      1. I have a Chief Oshkosh trunk with the yellow stripes and I’m willing to part with it. It has the yellow stripes and opens with a closet with hangers on one side and drawers on the other. I’d be happy to email pictures if I had your address.

  2. I have recently come into possession of an Oshkosh trunk company “suitcase”, striped, with all working mechanisms and VERY GOOD condition. Unfortunately no key for the lock 😅
    Measures approx 20x9x29 inches.
    I can send pics.
    I’m in Ottawa Canada.

  3. I recently purchased a vintage The Chief piece of luggage to carry a clown outfit for the Shrine Circus.
    Is it possible to get keys for the luggage, or can a locksmith make keys

  4. I’m about to sell my 3 peices of OshKosh. And I’m not sure what to price it. One peice has pull out clothing holder with hangers made of the original plastic?. I’ve never seen
    anything like it before

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