I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.

15 Responses to “Unboxing a mysterious trunk in the attic”

  1. knoxblox says:

    Antiques Roadshow, here I come!

  2. mtdna says:

    She didn’t show it, but at the very bottom of the trunk was a wooden fleshlight.

  3. Dlo Burns says:

    All I can think about when I see an unboxing video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRJcxMe1zWY

  4. The fort in the pics (Neuf-Brisach, today in France, opposite Breisach, Germany) can be found here: https://maps.google.de/maps?q=breisach&hl=de&ie=UTF8&ll=48.024835,7.550955&spn=0.044603,0.077162&sll=48.661847,9.003665&sspn=5.638536,9.876709&t=h&hnear=Breisach,+Freiburg,+Baden-W%C3%BCrttemberg&z=14 – it was built by Vauban. The other German document shows the Blocksberg, a Harz mountain where it is said that witches dance for Beltane.

  5. HDCase says:

    The, “teardrop shaped stone” looks suspiciously like a gall stone. Sometimes they were kept after successful removal as a token.

  6. Boundegar says:

    Somebody buy this woman a tripod, the picking up the camera noises were awful.

  7. millie fink says:

    Love that a letter she founds starts “O virgin fair,”

  8. Jared Mackay says:

    This woman is very lucky. A guy posted to /r/lockpicking that a weird roommate left a trunk and he needed help opening it…

    well, it contained a bunch of condoms, old underwear and DATED ZIPLOCS, WITH HUMAN FECES INSIDE.

    So… yeah, careful what trunks you open is the moral I guess…

  9. Kinda surprised that there have been so few comments here (as opposed to zillions on YouTube, more to do with the young lady’s prettiness — and a Scots accent no less! Swoon!) on the contents themselves. 

    Some of these seem to be the property of a Commander in the Royal Navy. The stripes suggest the rank, the obviousness of the naval connection hardly bears mentioning. I am going to date the military garb second half of the 18th century. Here’s what my research (of about 45 minutes, pure pleasure I might add) tells me: Edwin Augustus Seagrove did business at the address on the naval gear’s label, but the firm was a partnership with one William James Seagrove (a brother? A son?) and thus, at least until just prior to 1853, the firm was not known as E. A. Seagrove but W. & E. Seagrove. 

    In 1853, William’s son (also named William, William Aylward Seagrove) took over for Dad and the name changed to E. & W. Seagrove. Since most other references to E.A. Seagrove’s products place them post-1850, I think it is safe to assume at some point W.A. also took a powder and left old E.A. to run things on his own. But certainly, the items seem authentic. I suspect they were dress uniforms.

    The signal flag book, what appear to be code books for fleet signals, the hat, and some other signifiers (plans of foreign forts) obviously point further to a man of naval background. I believe the mystery disc of green might have been used for signalling, or for running lights, but I can’t be certain.

    The locks bear Queen Victoria’s insignia which also places them in the mid-to-late 19th century, and the badge cap for the Waterloo Rifle Guard features the Bath Cross which I believe was added to the uniform in 1820? or 1830?– but it lacks many of the honors entwined on the wreath later in the 19th century. So I’d place this in the middle of the century too.

    Mind you this is all from picture and a pretty crummy quality video. But it makes sense to me.

    What are we to make of the invoice for the purchase of linen? Perhaps a keepsake from dear old mum? Or perhaps this was mum’s case of mementos of her brave fighting sons, a bit of knitting by her daughter? I can take a further imaginative leap — perhaps the bill for the linen from 1750 was the cloth for her wedding gown. The timing is about right.All in all, fascinating stuff. I’d plotz if I found a box like this and lose myself in researching it forever. What I wouldn’t do is toss around crumbly bits of 200-year-old paper and 150-year-old antiques the way this lovely young woman is. And yes, I’d have got myself a tripod too.

  10. OK, I am addicted now. Have looked into the logs of Wemyss Orrok feature of the imgur page. 

    Orrok was Captain of the HMS Lord Nelson, an East Indiaman sailing under a letter of marque, in 1804 but died on the return trip to England in 1805. The Nelson had a pretty exciting time of it in the Napoleonic Wars.

    There were several vessels named Rose in the 18th & 19th centuries. (The most celebrated of which sailed under British colors in the Revolutionary War, and was replicate in the ’70′s as a training ship, later christened HMS Surprise and used in Peter Weir’s film of Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander). None of the ones I can find were active in the East Indies in 1799, however.

    I doubt the hat and jacket belonged to Wemyss, simply because it’s pretty clearly a commander’s rank; all the references I can find to his time on the Nelson refer to him as Captain — except this one:
    http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/details?Uri=D565779
    – which calls him Commander. Hmm.

    I still cannot find any reference to E.A. Seagrove doing business under that name prior to the late 1800′s, which leads me further to think the naval uniform is not Wemyss Orrok’s but someone else’s. The hat, certainly, dates to the 1860′s, according to the Greenwich National Maritime Museum, where they have an a seemingly identical one in their collection:
    http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/74459.html

    The Victorian locks and Waterloo regimental badge cap similarly date from that period. 

    If Wemyss was shipping goods for East India Trading, as he might well have been, the linen order might well be his. but we have at least two generations of British military represented here. I only wish I could figure out more. I am sure Reddit freaks (meant as a compliment) are way past me here.

  11. Iain Bryden says:

    It would be cool if this happened:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c58i5MzlvD4

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