Storage trunks originated as traveling luggage for use on long journeys. The most common styles seen today date from the late 18th to early 20th century. After that, trunks were replaced by suitcases. Forms vary, from dome top, round top, bevel top, slatted and non-slatted top, among others. Below are a few examples of different styles, with information and images courtesy of Eagle Trunk Designs http://eagletrunks.com/
Monitor top trunks (see image 1 below). This type of trunk, circa third quarter 19th to early 20th century, purportedly got its name from the USS Monitor warship and is characterized by rounded front and rear corners.
Steamer trunks (see image 2 below). Circa 1880 to 1930, this trunk has a flat top and is short enough to fit under the beds or seats in steamships and trains. Most examples of the metal covered ones are from the 1900s onwards.
Automobile trunks (see image 3 below). Circa 1910 to 1950. Early automobiles did not have storage spaces to speak of and were equipped with a rack or slot for which a trunk could be placed. Some of these trunks were built specially for a particular vehicle while others were generic.
Wardrobe trunks (see image 4 below). These were very popular from the late 19th to the mid 20th century. Inside, these usually have drawers on one side and a place to hang clothes on the other.
DID YOU KNOW, speaking of wardrobe trunks, that some came with detachable brief or make-up cases, ironing boards, mirrors, shoe holders, almost everything but the kitchen sink. See this image of a lady ironing on a 1921 Phillips wardrobe trunk. Image courtesy of thisoldtrunk.com