• Sharon Sargeant

Something Old Something New

The Story of the Hope Chest

Edward Hudson Lane’s furniture company (1891–1973) played an important role in the hope and heart of a young woman who awaited the day that someone would ask for her hand in marriage. He marketed one of the company's furniture pieces, the Lane Cedar Chest as a “hope chest”. This historical piece of furniture, not used by millennials today, was purchased and used to place all the items in anticipation of marriage and planning a household. The young lady’s mother may give her linens and other trinkets to place in this chest. It would sit at the end of the bed or under a window as a seat for reading.

Founded in Altavista, Virginia (Campbell County) in 1912, the company manufactured items during the war and turned to other marketing thereafter. Shirley Temple (popular movie actress and wholesome) was used on the marketing materials. Lane advertisements reached a high point during World War II, persuading thousands of GIs leaving for overseas to purchase a Lane Hope Chest for the sweethearts they were leaving behind. Ads combined romantic images of men in uniform and their fiancees with patriotic slog

(Information: Virginia Museum of History and Culture)

Today, we use technology to hold our hopes and dreams of what we would like our wedding day and homes to look like there after. Pinterest is the #1 website for creating and sharing those visions of “hope”. Even though we don’t use this relic anymore, the idea of a storage bench at the end of the bed with soft velvet fabric and tufted rhinestone buttons can be used to store all the special items that are purchased during the wedding planning process. This is a new spin on an old idea.


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Woodbridge, VA


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