Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Gladstone Bag – Yesterday and Today

The Gladstone Bag was originally made for wealthy professionals - mainly doctors, but including lawyers and politicians, usually men - to carry the tools of their trade, and to look elegant and protect their valuable contents. 

Today the Gladstone Bag is valued by men and women alike, both as an attractive fashion accessory, and as one of the roomiest containers for business tools, students’ books and lessons plans, also for its original purpose of carrying doctors’ medical preparations and patient case notes and lawyers’ court notes and law books.

The original Gladstone Bag was a massive affair built on a rigid frame with a large and heavy base, and having two compartments designed to keep certain items separate, such as to prevent liquid medicines spilling over onto patients’ case notes.   The true Gladstone Bag closes at the top and opens wide, and its huge base keeps the bag steady in use and prevents contents falling out and being scattered or damaged. 

The genuine Gladstone Bag, retaining its original shape and features, has remained popular with doctors and surgeons, hence the reason it’s sometimes referred to as a ‘doctor’s bag’ or ‘surgeon’s bag’.

But from Victorian times a wide variety of bags and cases have been designed and called ‘Gladstone Bag’ even though some bear little or no resemblance to the original design.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Gladstone Bag for Travelling and Business

It wasn’t just doctors and lawyers who made the Gladstone Bag popular when it first appeared in the nineteenth century.  In fact many workmen also found the roomy Gladstone Bag just perfect for carrying tools and work manuals.  Electricians and plumbers, for example, also apprentices in various trades, viewed the Gladstone Bag as the perfect way to transport tools, sometimes very big and dirty, also extremely heavy, between jobs and travelling to work each morning and back home at night.

For long distance travelling, on trains and ships, for example, the Gladstone Bag presented a much more elegant impression than flat and boring suitcases, as well as being wider than most suitcases and so easier for travellers to store larger items.  The flat base of the Gladstone Bag was, and still is perfect for transporting delicate items in an upright position and to avoid them falling about and breaking in suitcases usually made from thin flexible leather. 

Another benefit of the Gladstone Bag over conventional suitcases was the opportunity for two people to transport personal items in one bag, each person taking one compartment each in the Gladstone Bag.