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The Term “Handbag” First Appeared In The 1900’s – It Referred To Men’s Hand-Luggage

National Handbag Day on October 10th recognizes the versatile and utilitarian bag that goes by many names.

Call it what you will – pocketbook, clutch, reticule, purse, evening bag, case, or pouch – they’ve been coming in handy for thousands of years.

  • The first documented use of handbags comes from 14th century hieroglyphics.
  • The average woman owns 6 handbags.
  • The average women’s handbag weighs 5.2 pounds.
  • A new study has revealed that women’s handbags are contaminated with more bacteria than a toilet seat.
  • The term “backpack” was invented in 1910. Before that the terms knapsack and packsack were used.
  • The first unisex bag, a black nylon knapsack, was launched in 1985.
  • The average student carries a book bag weighing 25% of their body weight. The recommended weight is no more than 15%.
  • The term “handbag” appeared in the 1900’s and was used to refer to hand-luggage for men. However, women’s bags became more popular in that period and now the term is associated with the accessory.
  • In ancient Egypt, men used to carry around purse like pouches and it was completely normal at that time.
  • The word luggage comes from the verb “lug” which means to drag.
  • Shakespeare was one of the first to cite the word “luggage” in his masterpiece Henry IV.
  • Carrying bags became extremely popular among women and young girls in the 17th century. It was one of the most sought after gifts to give to women and young girls at that time (it still is).
  • As of 2019, Mouawad 1001 Nights Diamond Purse is the most expensive handbag in the world with a price tag of $3.8 million.
  • 2 out of 10 luxury purses on the street are knockoffs
  • London’s H.J. Cave made the first luxury leather handbag.  In 1841, Cave manufactured the first small and resistant handbags from durable leather. These were especially made for the family of a very successful business man, Samuel Parkinson. Of course, his wife’s purse had a more delicate size and shape. Now, these bags can be seen in the Amsterdam Handbag Museum.
  • Rumor has it that, at the end of each year, Louis Vuitton burns all its unsold products.
  • The first person mentioned in a written text as wearing a bag is Judas Iscariot. The Bible makes him the first purse owner in history.
  • The railroad made people realize that they needed to invent “handbags”. Until the construction of the railroad, people did not need a practical and spacious thing in which to carry their important things. When they started using the train on a regular basis, women realized that they needed something functional. This is how the handbag was born.
  • Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Handbags come in second. Therefore, handbags are a girl’s second best friend.
  • 22% of women choose to go on a handbag shopping spree, if given a chance to buy branded things.
  • 1 out of every 10 women invests more than $150 per year for handbags.
  • Louis Vuitton was the first branded handbag to arise. Second came Fendi, third came Hermes, forth came Chanel, etc.


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