There are so many different styles of bags out there, and yet one seems to remain an ever-present choice across time. If you look through the annals of history, you'll find that messenger bags have played their part in fashion and culture for a really long time.
It's interesting to look back on messenger bags through the years and how they came to be what they are today.
The Origin of the Messenger Bag
Since the messenger bag's humble beginnings, it has been widely adopted as a way to carry whatever you want and need. Though it may not have carried the same look like the style we associate with messenger bags today, a version of it existed all the way back in ancient Rome.
The Romans used to carry around a leather pouch that was donned over the shoulder. This was used to carry coins for the general public. However, the bag carrier would see itself in the midst of war—with its purpose shifting to carry messages and the like for soldiers.
Letters and the War
The messenger bag’s purpose in that light trickles over to more modern times. You see how certain military bags employ the same style today, but this all began back in the 1930s and 1940s. This field bag carried all sorts of letters, equipment, and resources for the brave soldiers at the front.
It's very different from the letter carriers that continued to wear the bag, albeit with an iteration of the bag that was quite a bit different in aesthetic from what we wear today. The only change is where we saw these bags strapped across, be it horse-riding carriers or bike-riding mailmen.
The Telephone Era
Now, we enter the 1950s. This is the point where we see the entrance of what we might call the best messenger bag or, at the very least, the true blueprint for the type of bag we see today.
It all happened because the De Martini Globe Canvas company decided to create a satchel that would be used by telephone linemen to carry their equipment. It was a useful way to have their tools handy while they climbed up on telephone poles.
The satchel was such a hit that the telephone carriers themselves saw the value in having their own bag and started to carry it around. From there, people adopted them for their own use in daily activities.
Students and Workers Then and Now
As with anything that hits the mainstream, it all started with pockets of people adopting the bag for practical purposes. This is why you'll see many students or workers use a work messenger bag for the purpose of carrying around books, files, or, more recently, laptops and tablets.
The more extensive spread of the messenger bag as we know it happened around the 1980s when fashion designers realized the appeal and refinement that could be found in this design. As it flourished in fashion, so did students and workers start to see how it perfectly melded functionality and aesthetic value.
The messenger bag is as much a part of our lives as it was for those that came before us. If you want a bag that looks great and is built for daily use, it's not a bad idea to look at the bag that has transcended centuries.
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