Chronology of box variations 

Oldest to Newest

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Much of the research into miniature Lane cedar boxes (and the Girl Graduate Plan from which they were conceived) has been to answer a simple question; how old are the various versions of the boxes and in what order were they manufactured?  Unfortunately, thus far, no Lane company records or "Lane box experts" have been found to answer this question.  Therefore, the research into this question has been relegated to clues found through careful inspection and study of thousands of boxes over many years. Every little detail of the boxes' features have been studied to build the rough chronology that appears below.  Although the study and comparison of the box features is helpful, the most valuable information contributing to the chronology is derived from inscriptions and notes the original owners of the boxes left for us.  A very small percentage of boxes contain clues in the form of dates and names written somewhere on the box that have been instrumental in building the chronology.  Keep in mind, this research is a work-in-progress and as new information is uncovered, the chronology may change.  The "Years" found in each description below should be considered in the following manner...This box variation has been found to be presented as early as 19__ and has not been found to be presented later than 19__.  There are still many gaps in the chronology and questions to be answered.  For example, nothing definitive has been found to say which came first, THF or THBF.  Likewise, there are box features telling us boxes are older or younger than each other but finding exact dates of manufacture is very difficult for a number of reasons.  One of the factors confusing presentation date and manufacture date is that dealers may have presented the box as a graduation gift years after they received the box from the Lane factory.  To contribute to the research see the Contact area.  

Box_LHF
Lane diamond
Face-nailed hinges - large nails
Locking rabbet joint
6pt hasp/hook
Padlock and Key
Label_Peterson Brothers brand
Large Hasp with Feet (LHF) 
click below to view features

Years: Speculated...1925 - 1935 although no hard evidence thus far

Dimensions: 10 3/8" (L) x 5 1/4" (W) x 4 5/8" (H)

Discussion: Only two LHF boxes have ever been found and they are identical.  Because of the similarity of the diamond shaped Lane logo found on the bottom of this box to the Peterson Brothers logo, the hypothesis is that this box was made for Lane by Peterson Brothers in the very early years of the Girl Graduate Plan.  Peterson Brothers was a box manufacturer in Chicago and it has been found that Lane purchased boxes from a Chicago manufacturer in the late 1920's and perhaps into the 1930's.  Also, the same joinery was used by Peterson Brothers as found in this box and this box is slightly larger than other Lane boxes but similar in size to Peterson Brothers boxes.  No inscriptions or dates of any kind have been found on a LHF box.  These boxes are VERY rare and we still have much to learn about them. 

See the Features area for more details.

Tall Hasp with Feet
Label B
LANE AV single line
Locking rabbet joint
6pt hasp/hook
Face-nailed hinges - small nails
Padlock and Key
Tall Hasp with Feet (THF) 
click below to view features

Years: Speculated...1925 - 1935 although no hard evidence thus far

Dimensions: 8 13/16" (L) x 4" (W) x 4 1/4" (H)

Discussion:  No evidence has been found to assign a date of manufacture on THF boxes.  However, it is likely THF was manufactured by either a Chicago or Ohio company.  The working theory is the Chicago company is Peterson Brothers and the Ohio company is Pilliod.  Photographs dated 1925 have been found showing boxes with hasps.  However it is is difficult to say if they are THF or LHF boxes.  Either THF or THBF (see below) are the first boxes with an early variation of the Lane scroll logo.  THF have only been found with the one logo seen here and with fancy hasps.  The joinery of all boxes with hasps is the same joinery used by both Peterson Brothers and Pilliod.  Retailer/ Dealer names have been found ink-stamped on bottoms and inside the lid.  Again, boxes with hasps are rare and little is known about when and where the were manufactured.  See the Features area for more details.   

Tall Hasp with Bun Feet
Label A
LANE AV single line
2 pt hasp/hook
Locking rabbet joint
6pt hasp/hook
Face-nailed hinges - small nails
Padlock and Key
Tall Hasp with Bun Feet (THBF) 
click below to view features

Years: Speculated...1925 - 1935 although hard evidence thus far

Dimensions:  8 3/4" (L) x 4 3/8"(W) x 4" (H)

Discussion:  An inscription has been found in a THBF box with a date of 1935.   However, it is likely THBF was manufactured by either a Chicago or Ohio company.  The working theory is the Chicago company is Peterson Brothers and the Ohio company is Pilliod.   Either THF or THBF (see above) are the first boxes with an early variation of the Lane scroll logo.  THBF have only been found with the one logo seen here and with both fancy and simple hasps.  The joinery of all boxes with hasps is the same joinery used by both Peterson Brothers and Pilliod.  Again, boxes with hasps are rare and little is known about when and where the were manufactured.  Retailer/Dealer names have been found ink-stamped on bottoms and inside the lid.  

See the Features area for more details.  

Tall Fluted with Feet
Logo_ROUTED_full box open
Label A
Label C
LANE double line surround
Small escutcheon with ruler
Screwed-in lockset
Mortised hinges exterior
Mortised hinges interior
Round Key
Tall Fluted with Feet (TFF) 
click below to view features

Years: 1936 - 1937

Dimensions:  8 15/16 (L) x 4 3/8"(W) x 3 7/8" (H)

Discussion:  It is likely TFF was the first box manufactured in the Lane factory in Altavista, VA.  Several inscriptions have been found inside TFF with dates of 1936 and 1937 and Tall (T) boxes have been found with dates as early as 1939.  Therefore, thus far, the theory is TFF was made and distributed for a very limited time.  Several firsts for Lane miniatures are found in TFF including screwed-in locksets with round keys, small escutcheons, double-lined logos and locking rabbet joinery.  However, there are some features only found in TFF including mortised nailed-in hinges, and rounded fluted front corners.   There are clear connections from TFF boxes to the first Tall boxes including screwed-in locksets, small escutcheons, double-lined logos and round keys.  See Features area for more details.

IMG_1331_edited_edited
IMG_1332_edited
FullSizeRender (3) (1)
FullSizeRender (2) (1)
Small escutcheon with ruler
Screwed-in lockset
Round Key
click below to view features
Canadian Tall Fluted with Feet (TFF-C) 

Years: 1936 - 1937 But tough to say...

Dimensions:  8 15/16 (L) x 4 3/8"(W) x 3 7/8" (H)

Discussion:   The Canadian version of TFF is different than the American version in several ways. TFF-C has face mounted hinges, not mortised internal hinges.  2.  TFF-C's upper rear edge is sharp/square not rounded-over.  3.  The double-lined logo of TFF-C does not say "Altavista, Va" or "Presented by."  4. The paper label on the bottom is unique and suggests Lane boxes were made in Canada.  5. On TFF-C, the name of the furniture dealer was not branded, it was stamped in ink (not shown).  It is yet to be determined definitively that this box was made in Canada but all indications are that it was.  See Features area for more details.

Tall Box
Pressed-in hinges
In-set felt
Screwed-in lockset
Small escutcheon
Large escutcheon
LANE single line surround
LANE double line surround
Logo_LANE_CC_PB_ink_Canadian
IMG_5086
Round key for small escutcheon/lock
Flat key for large escutcheon/lock
Label A
Label J
Label H
Label I
Label E
Label D
Label G
 Tall (T) 
click below to view features

Years: 1939 - 1957-ish

Dimensions: 9" (L) x 4  5/16" (W) x 4" (H)

Discussion: Miniature Lane boxes were not made during the war years from roughly 1942 and 1945.  However, Tall boxes span this time as they were distributed before and after the war.   During the time they were distributed, Tall boxes had many different features including 7 different Bottom Labels and 4 different Lid Logos.  Also, escutcheons changed from small to large and keys became flat instead of rounded.  Older Tall boxes (pre-war-ish) have small escutcheons and double-lined Line Logos.  Newer versions (post-war) have single-lined Lid Logos and large escutcheons.  See Features area for more details.

Tall Narrow
Box_TN on top of T
Screwed-in lockset
Large escutcheon with ruler
Pressed hinges
Inset felt
Locking rabbet joint, short
LANE single line surround
Flat Key
Tall Narrow (TN) 
click below to view features

Years: 1939 - 1957 -ish?  Probably closer to the late 1950's 

Dimensions: 8 1/2" (L) x 4  5/16" (W) x 4" (H)

Discussion:  Thus far, only one TN has been found (or maybe better said, recognized).  Because, with the exception of being 1/2" narrower, it has the same features as a Tall box.  See above the features of this one particular box.  The interesting questions is how did it come to be?  Why would the Lane factory change the assembly line in the miniatures department for such a short period of time?  Was there a mistake made related to the source wood?  Did a bunch of pieces just get cut too short?  The narrowness isn't due to aggressive sanding - the sides are the correct thickness.  Other TN boxes are out there.  However, it is difficult to find them viewing photos online.  This box was found, in large part, because it was laying next to a ruler in an e-bay photo.    

Short Rounded
LANE single line surround
Screwed-in lockset
Large escutcheon with ruler
Pressed hinges
Inset felt
Locking rabbet joint, short
Flat Key
Short Rounded    (SR)
click below to view features

Years: first found 1957  (late 50's)

Dimensions: 9" (L) x 4  15/16" (W) x 3 3/8" (H)

Discussion:  SR represents the transition from Tall boxes to Short boxes.  Features found in Tall boxes and still found in this first of the Short varieties are inset felt feet, screwed-in locksets, large escutcheons, rounded corners and the single-lined Lane Lid Logo surround.  In fact, other than the obvious size change, a SR box has all of the same features as the late-model Tall (T) boxes.   It is unknown why Lane decided to change from Tall to Short varieties.  

Short Beveled
LANE single line surround
Pressed hinges
Screwed-in lockset
Large escutcheon with ruler
Inset felt
Locking rabbet joint, short
Flat Key
Short Beveled (SB) 
click below to view features

Years: late 1950's 

Dimensions: 9" (L) x 4 15/16" (W) x 3 3/8" (H)

Discussion:  Like SR, SB is another transitional variation between Tall and Short boxes.   Also like SR, SB box features are the same as the late-model Tall boxes.  The most important transitional feature of SB is the sharp, square vertical corners.  Once the manufacturing process is refined and well established, sharp corners actually take less time to make because the sanding process for the vertical edges is eliminated.  However, Lane found the bevels on the top and bottom surfaces were difficult to line up and, therefore, there was too much "waste" in the process and the boxes had a pretty short run as a result.  The bevels have been found to be slightly different on SB boxes - the bevel moving more or less into the center of the top.

IMG_5650_edited
IMG_5651
IMG_5652
IMG_5653
Pressed hinges
Screwed-in lockset
Large escutcheon with ruler
Inset felt
Locking rabbet joint, short
Logo_LANE_AV_Surround
Flat Key
Short Jewelry Box (SJB) 
click below to view features

Years: Late 1950's?

Dimensions: 9" (L) x 5 5/8" (W) x 3 3/8" (H)

Discussion:  Not much is known about this box because only one has ever been found.  

This box, has a shelf inside and was clearly meant to be a jewelry box.  Unique features: Yellow-ish paint on the exterior, white paint on the interior, felt lined, unique Lane logo on the bottom.  The box is likely mahogany and has all the same features as SR except those noted here and the increased depth - perhaps to accept the shelf.  Prototype?  Limited run? The mystery continues...

Short
Short Pine
Pressed-in lockset
Pressed hinges
Locking rabbet joint, short
Inset felt
Blank bottom
Blank rounded bottom
Large escutcheon with ruler
Gun metal escutcheon
Large brass escutcheon
Large chrome escutcheon
Extra large escutcheon
Large black escutcheon
Logo_LANE_CC_AV_PB_surround
Lane PB
Lane in cedar
Logo_Lane_script only_Pine
Lane 4 square
Flat Key
Short (S) 
click below to view features

Years: Late 1950's - 2004-ish

Dimensions: 9" (L) x 4 15/16" (W) x 3 3/8" (H)

Discussion:  Short box were manufactured for over 50 years.  Therefore, more Short boxes were made than other variation.  During this extended time, many changes were made to features including 4 different Lid Logos and several escutcheon colors (finishes) and sizes.  During the Short box era, some features were eliminated including Bottom Labels and Inset felt pads on the bottoms.  The manufacturing process was also expedited with the introduction of pressed-in lock-sets and enhancements to the method of applying (and changing) Lid Logos.  The most important transition taking place in the Short box era was the dissolving of the Girl Graduate Plan and the introduction of Lane selling the miniatures through many methods and venues.  Short boxes feature sharp, crisp vertical corners and rounded-over tops.  In later versions the routed sharp back-set edge on the bottom was rounded to a smooth transition from sides to bottom.  Also, when Lane began to manufacture the boxes for sale, many included "painted" prints on the tops including holiday, nature, sports, Disney and other themes.  Also, Lane made some of their last boxes from pine, not cedar.  Sadly, Lane's attempts to keep the Miniatures Department viable were abandoned around 2004.

Modified
Pressed hinges
Locking rabbet joint, short
Short Modified (SM) 
click below to view features

Years: Tall era?

Dimensions: 9" (L) x 4 5/16" (W) x 1 1/2" (H)

Discussion:  This box is chronologically out of order - just put at the end as an "oddity."  It's really tough to say why this Tall box was cut down.  A couple things about it suggest the modification may have been done in the Miniature Department at the Lane factory.  One, there is no inset relief for felt in the bottom like all other Tall boxes.  The bottom could have had a blemish and it was pulled off the line before the insets were drilled.  Two, there is no Lid Logo.  It's also interesting there is obviously no lock-set and, therefore, no need for a lock catch on the lid.  However, there is a hole where the catch would have been attached but it is on the hinge side of the lid - meaning it was turned around.  One-of-a-kind for sure...