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Modern origin of the handbag

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Modern origin of the handbag
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The term "purse" originally referred to a small bag for holding coins. In British English, it is still used to refer to a small coin bag. A "handbag" is a larger needed accessory, that holds items beyond currency, such as a woman's personal items and emergency items to survive on. American English typically Women's fashion from 1830, including a reticule handbag from Franceuses the terms "purse" and "handbag" interchangeably. The term "handbag" began appearing in the early 1900s. Initially, it was most often used to refer to men's hand-luggage. Women's accessory bags grew larger and more complex during that period, and the term was attached to the women's accessory.[1] Handbags are used as fashion accessories as well as functional ones.[2] The verb "handbagging" refers to hitting someone or something with a handbag.[3]

Modern originWomen's fashion from 1830, including a reticule handbag from France.[4]Early modern Europeans wore purses for one purpose, to carry coins. Purses were made of soft fabric or leather, and were worn by men as often as ladies; the Scottish sporran is a survival of this custom. In the 17th century young girls were taught embroidery as a necessary skill for marriage; this also helped them make very beautiful handbags.[5] By the late 18th century, fashions in Europe were moving towards a slender shape, inspired by the silhouettes of Ancient Greece and Rome. Women wanted purses that would not be bulky or untidy in appearance, so reticules were designed. Reticules were made of fine fabrics like silk and velvet, with wrist straps. Originally popular in France, they crossed over into Britain, where they became known as "indispensables".[6] Men, however, did not adopt the trend. They used purses and pockets, which became popular in men's trousers.[7]The modern purse, clutch, pouch or handbag came about in England during the Industrial Revolution and the increase in travel by railway. In 1841 the Doncaster industrialist and confectionery entrepreneur Samuel Parkinson (of butterscotch fame) ordered a set of travelling cases and trunks, and insisted on a travelling case or bag for his wife's particulars. Parkinson had noticed his wife's purse was too small and made from material that would not withstand the journey. He stipulated that he wanted various hand bags for his wife, varying in size for different occasions, and asked that they be made from the same leather that was being used for his cases and trunks; this would distinguish them from the then-familiar carpetbag and other travelers' cloth bags used by members of other social classes. H. J. Cave (London) obliged and produced the first modern set of luxury handbags, as we would recognise them today, including a clutch and a tote (named as 'ladies travelling case'). These are now on display in the handbag museum in Amsterdam.[8] H. J. Cave did continue to sell and advertise the handbags, but many critics said that women did not need them, and that bags of such size and heavy material would 'break the backs of ladies'. H. J. Cave ceased to promote the bags from 1865, and concentrated on trunks instead, although they continued to make the odd handbag for Royalty, celebrities or to celebrate special occasions, the Queens 2012 Diamond Jubilee being the most recent. However, H.J. Cave resumed handbag production in 2010.
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