Featured Item: Belber Steamer Trunk

Featured Item: Belber Steamer Trunk

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Belber was a leather goods company founded in Philadelphia in 1891 by brothers Aaron and Henry Belber who began their company as teenagers in a basement in South Philadelphia hand-stitching leather goods. Their first factory opened in 1903.

Larkin-Belber Building (22nd and Arch in Philadelphia) 

By 1919, the brothers bought the Oshkosh Trunk Company and became the world's largest manufacturer of traveling goods. In the 1920s, they established their main office, a factory and salesroom in Philadelphia (22nd and Arch St) and built a network across the United States before acquiring Schmidt Bros. Trunk Company, as well as both Innovation and Neverbreak trunkmakers.

In 1930, Belber moved their headquarters to Woodbury, New Jersey, before closing their Philadelphia factory and showroom and moving everything to Woodbury in 1947. Two years later, following a union dispute, Belber returned to Pennsylvania. this time setting up in Altoona. In the 1950s and 1960s, Belber experienced a downturn in sales and disappeared entirely by the mid-1970s.

Safe Lock Steamer Trunk

In the 1920s, Belber's products were considered luxurious, yet affordable enough for the emerging middle class. Widely advertised in national magazines, Belber used the slogan "as modern as tomorrow," feeding the public's thirst for the futuristic.

Belber Advertisement for Matching Luggage

Our Belber trunk is undated, but does have some of Belber's patented devices, including the "Belber Safe Lock." This unique piece, featured below, is an excellent example of Philadelphia's history as a leader in manufacturing and business. Stop by and take a look for yourself.

-Ariel Natalo-Lifton

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