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#146577 - 08/21/05 01:48 PM Clothes Press
CarlAdler Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/12/00
Posts: 33
Loc: Eastern North Carolina, US
A very long time ago as a child I lived in Buffalo NY. For some reason the people I knew at that time always referred to what we now know as a "closet" as a "clothes press." I have no idea why? Has anyone else come across this usage? I checked Dictionary.com and found "clothes room" as a synonym for "closet."


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#146578 - 08/21/05 02:46 PM Re: Clothes Press
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
Carl:

I've never heard of calling a closet a clothes press, but I wonder if this goes back to the days when there weren't any closets, and people commonly had a piece of furniture for storing hanging clothes.

It's commonly called a wardrobe in the US; I think in Germany it is a Schrunk, perhaps Schrunck.

I assume it comes from the sense of press of being in a crowd, since the clothes are all crowded together.

I just saw one at an auction, solid chestnut, perhaps 150 years old, with shiplap back. Unfortunately some butcher had cut a hole in the back so his television would fit in the thing. A thousand dollar wardrobe in any big city antique store, and this guy used a saber saw to reduce its value to less than $150. I bid on it up to $70 or so because I wanted the wood to make some boxes out of. It had zero antique value. Sigh.

These were very common when people built houses without closets; my house is an example. At one time it had a central hallway that divided the upper half of the house. In one of many additions, the hallway was divided into closets and access granted to one bedroom by cutting a door through from another bedroom. I'm in the process of undoing this. I'll be building wardrobes for those three bedrooms that now share a chopped up hallway as closet space.

I wonder whether people who had clothes presses just called their closets that after builders began to put closets in bedrooms.

TEd

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#146579 - 08/21/05 02:53 PM Re: Clothes Press
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3286
Loc: R'lyeh
I think in Germany it is a Schrunk, perhaps Schrunck.

An armoire or wardrobe is called a Schrank (or also a Garderobe) in German. Googling for "clothes press" shows various pieces of antique furniture for storing clothes in.

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#146580 - 08/21/05 02:56 PM Re: Clothes Press
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10508
Loc: this too shall pass
>this guy used a saber saw to reduce its value to less than $150.

admitting I know nothing about antiques now -- couldn't you restore much of the value here through restoration of the back?


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#146581 - 08/21/05 03:35 PM Re: Clothes Press
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
Unfortunately, no. It's impossible to get chestnut wood, due to the blight or whatever it was that killed off the huge forests of them here in the US. I've seen pictures of chestnut stumps with eight or ten men standing on the flat surface of one stump. The forests must have been simply awesome.

Alas, the only chestnut now available is from other furniture and from old barns and other outbuildings. And it would be impossible to make a new part that would match the rest of the old piece of furniture. It would always be identifiable as a major repair. In addition, it would probably be unethical to even try to do so. Certainly the antique value would go way way down.



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#146582 - 08/21/05 03:58 PM Re: Clothes Press
CarlAdler Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/12/00
Posts: 33
Loc: Eastern North Carolina, US
Well I think that Ted's suggestion is almost certainly true. I had not thought of using Google. Now that I am reminded of it my Grandparents had wardrobes, which I am sure they called clothes presses and that name probably migrated to actual closets as Ted guessed.


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#146583 - 08/22/05 07:41 AM Re: Clothes Press
Saranita Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/18/00
Posts: 48
Loc: Central Ohio
Hadn't thought about this for many years, but my granny's house had one closet in it, which was in the dining room, and she always called it "the press." This was in Eastern Kentucky.


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#146584 - 08/22/05 08:30 AM Re: Clothes Press
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
and --(i think-) i am sure(well, i think i am sure)
there are small kitchen cabines, called a pie safe or pie press". I think Press was used as a name for a cabinet of a sort. (in times past. (nowdays, most homes don't have pie safe's, or if they do, they don't use them for pie's.)

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#146585 - 08/22/05 08:45 AM Re: Clothes Press
belligerentyouth Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 1055
Loc: Berlin
I've heard of a clothes press quite often; I think it is fairly British. Another British term is 'linen press'; this is, as the name states, a place to put bed linen or bed clothes. I never really considered where the 'press' came from but I guess I assumed it came from the wringing out of cloth in those old-fashioned presses, or alternatively, that it had something to do with a clothes press such as this one:
http://www.hammacher.com/publish/70951.asp

Re. Garderobe

This is also used in English (as in German) to describe both a wardrobe and changing room. Though certainly it is not as common as in German. http://makeashorterlink.com/?L275638AB


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#146586 - 08/22/05 10:12 AM Re: Clothes Press
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
my (ex) in laws had an iron like that--they called it a 'mangle' (which i thought to be a funny name, since to mangle is to mess up, tie in knots--generally, the opposite of ironed..)

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