What is a Hope Chest?
The hope chest derived its name because it was designed to symbolize “hope” in a marriage. In preparation for marriage in the future, a young lady would traditionally fill her chest with belongings that she would need. The bride-to-be would store items in her wooden chest such as clothes, books, dishes, blankets, and any other personal belongings that she needed for marriage. Many of the items in the chest were handmade by the young woman to show her skillfulness, adeptness, and her preparedness to enter adult hood.
History of Hope Chest
Hope chests date all the way back to the 15th century where they were originally used as a form of payment in a marriage. The tradition came from arranged marriages centuries ago where the groom and his family were expected to provide dowry such as labor, animals, or money. At the same time, in anticipation for her marriage, a young lady’s family would provide her with personal items that she would need for her future life. The potential bride would store these items in her wooden chest to be taken with her on the day of her wedding. It was symbol of significance for their new marriage.
Although these chests are not commonly used for dowry payments anymore, many people still use them as a storage chest for family heirlooms or items that will be passed down further generations. The hope chest is a symbol of the past, present, and future- all within its depths.
Hope Chest Used Today
Although these chest are no longer used as a dowry payment, many cultures, like the Amish, still use a hope chest as a wedding gift to a young couple. Instead of storing items in their chest in advance, mothers will often give their daughters some of the priceless treasures that have been passed down to them over the years. With each generation that passes, the chest accumulates more and more timeless family treasures that are coveted by the whole family. Not only is a hope chest a priceless gift, it also brings generations together as they share the treasures that they have received as well as any that they have made.
Hope Chest Wood Types
Our reproduction hope chests for sale come in two wood types – oak and cherry. If you wish to have the cedar wood benefits, each chest comes standard with a cedar bottom, and you can even choose to add cedar lining to the inside of the wooden chest. In addition, if you wish to have an entire chest made from cedar, you can check out our cedar chests options in our “basic cedar series”.
Hope Chest Features
Working lock/Spring Lid Support
Like a lot of chests, our cedar hope chests also come standard with a working lock. With a lock, you will be able secure your most valuable items. Also, spring loaded hinges are installed in every one our hope chests. Each hinge is designed to hold the lid open while you are loading or unloading your belongings. Now you no longer have to worry about the lid falling on your innocent fingers!
Custom Engraved Name Plate
All of our reproduction chests for sale come with an optional customized name plate. You can choose to write whatever you like to personalize your hope chest for your family and the generations to follow.