Why are they called trunks?

Answered by Michael Wilson

Trunks, as we know them today, are the rear compartments of cars where we store our belongings. But have you ever wondered why they are called trunks? The answer lies in the early days of automobile travel.

Back in the early 20th century, when cars were still a relatively new invention, people used to travel with large travel chests, also known as trunks. These trunks were sturdy and designed to hold a traveler’s belongings securely. They were typically made of wood or metal and often had leather trimmings.

Before cars had built-in rear compartments, drivers would strap these trunks to the backs of their vehicles. The trunks were secured with ropes or leather straps to ensure they didn’t fall off during the journey. This setup allowed travelers to transport their belongings conveniently.

Imagine the scene: a family embarking on a road trip, carefully fastening their cherished trunks onto the back of their car. The trunks would be filled with clothes, supplies, and any other essentials needed for the journey. These trunks became synonymous with travel, adventure, and exploration.

However, as time went on, automakers started designing cars with built-in rear compartments. This innovation eliminated the need for travelers to bring their own trunks. The cars themselves now had spacious compartments where passengers could store their belongings securely.

With the advent of built-in rear compartments, the term “trunk” began to be used to refer to the permanent storage space in the back of a car. Over time, this term became widely adopted and is still used today, particularly in North America.

It’s fascinating how language evolves and adapts to changes in society. In this case, the term “trunk” has survived long after the physical trunks themselves have become obsolete in the context of car travel.

So, the next time you open the trunk of your car, take a moment to appreciate the history behind the term. It’s a reminder of the ingenuity and resourcefulness of early car enthusiasts who found a practical solution for transporting their belongings during the early days of automotive travel.