2 – This design of chest was used by peddlers to transport their goods on a mule. The chests were often used in pairs, one on each side of the mule, and the drawers were used for smaller items, while the trunks held cloth and larger items. The peddler could easily gain access to goods in the drawers without unloading the mule, and could thus accost potential customers even when on the move.
George III Oak Mule Chest
Description: Late 18th century, two-part form, top with hinged lid and applied molded edge, interior with two drawers and secret compartment, upper cabinet with two lipped drawers, lower chest with two cock beaded drawers, on straight bracket feet.
Size: 45 x 44 x 22 in.
Condition: Shrinkage cracks and staining to lid; no key; missing locks; later pulls; shrinkage crack to right side of lower case and small chip near waist drawer.
Kinda a mule chest on chest with bracket feet. The upper three drawers are just applied molding and pulls:
The drawers in the till were a bit stiff so I did not pursue the search for the hidden compartment as aggressively as I might have.
Then, there is the primitve nailed version:
New England Painted Mule Chest
Description: 19th century, white pine, red wash, remnants of old blue paint to molded lid, two lipped drawers, raised on bootjack feet.
Size: 37 x 37 x 18.5 in.
Condition: Later red wash; top missing hinges; later foot facing to front.
I would show you the inside but there are no hinges and the lid kept falling off. No till. I can show you this ingenious repair of a sort:
And the back:
Notice, as I have pointed out before, the back is unpainted. They really didn’t care what the wall saw. Of course, it could have been dipped, stripped and repainted.