I have a Lane Cedar Chest. Actually, my roommate has one. He had no clue what it was. He got it from a deceased lover. When we saved it from the storage shed, I was thrilled at the condition and the item in general. When I found out it was a Lane Cedar Chest, and potentially legit (not a knockoff, if there is such a thing), I jumped up and down.
What to Look For
The Lane Cedar Chest (or in layman’s term a Hope Chest) is something a lot of people look for at flea markets and antique stores when trying to get an antique or two. Or maybe they are just considered vintage. Yeah, depending on when it was made, it’s probably just vintage, because only a few are more than 100 years old, the age for antiques. They don’t go for a lot of money; it’s more being able to say you have a Lane Cedar Chest. The company stopped making them in 2001. If you want one and see one in decent shape, snap it up!
FYI, Wayfair advertises they sell Lane Cedar Chests. The company hasn’t been open for that long and I don’t think they sell used furniture, so there’s no way they are selling a Lane Cedar Chest. They are selling a cedar chest with another Lane name (such as Birch Lane), or else it’s a generic term for a cedar chest. Same for Joss & Main on their website. So if someone says they have a Lane Cedar Chest for you to buy, check it out first!
How to Determine the Age of a Lane Cedar Chest
If you have a true Lane Cedar Chest, there is a serial number on the lid’s underside of the lid. And if you’re lucky, the original owner kept the paperwork in there as well.
The date of manufacturing is the serial number. And it’s written backwards, in case you are confused. The one I have has a Serial Number of 555111. That means it was manufactured on November 15, 1955. It’s older than me, if you can believe that.
If there is a 7th number in the serial number, that is the plant that manufactured it.. This was always the last number in the series, after the date (so it was at the beginning). The factories were:
- 2 in Virginia
- 4 in North Carolina
- 2 in Mississippi
- 1 in Tennessee
Look for the cool logo in the top.
The paperwork includes a warranty stating it protects cloth items placed inside, and may have the date of manufacture on it. This makes it extra desirable for collectors.
Styles of the Lane Cedar Chest
There may also be a style number, but unless you are looking for the exact same style, that doesn’t really matter unless you are selling it. My chest says Style No 3271.
- Traditional chests – The look of an antique. Lined with cedar. Outside woods were Cherry, Maple, Walnut. Included detailed carvings and sometimes upholstery.
- Mid-Century chests –
- Danish Modern. Very clean lines, has no adornments except for carved lines in it and the angular feet.
- Mid-Century Modern. Clean lines and angular feet like the Danish Modern. These are a little more industrial looking. Patterned wood stains. Some had upholstery and/or pull out drawers.
- Flapper Style chests – 30’s and 40’s.
- Thematic Art Deco movement. Inlayed woods with geometric designs. Some had hinged shelving boxes.
- The Chippendale style had ball and claw feet and ornate carvings.
The Dangerous Locking Mechanism
Remove the lock if you still have the original lock, and it predates 1987. They recalled them due to not being able to open it from the inside. I guess children used to hide in them when playing hide and seek?
- If you have a chest with a catch or a lock, you need to:
- Remove the cover if there is one
- Get a screwdriver (manual is safest) and remove the 3 screws
- Remove the plate and the lock will be removed
- If you want to order a new lock, try this phone number (1-800-225-7576)
I did not order a new locking mechanism, because mine is full of stuff. No children will be able to get in there.
IMHO, these should not be refurbished, like I did to this vintage console, but should just be cleaned up and repairs done if necessary. The only thing I did was remove some contact paper placed on the top, which apparently was done to protect the chest from further damage.
Other Research areas:
- Cause A Frockus – Another history take
- Chairish – if you want pictures of what a company is selling
- Ebay – to find examples and what you might want to look at when purchasing
And there you have it. Enough knowledge about a Lane Cedar Chest to get you moving on the path to purchase. Every diyhomegoddess should have one!