Congratulations to Nancy for the right answer for last week’s Mid-Week Quickie! And don’t forget to answer this week’s What? We’ve had some really great answers so far! There will be winners for both the first right answer and for the best answer – so show off your knowledge and dazzle us with knowledge!
This Whiting and Davis bag is fabulous!
But, first, a little bit of information on Whiting and Davis. Whiting and Davis is by far one of the most known names in handbags today, and certainly the pre-eminent name in mesh bags. They were founded in 1876 as a jewelry firm in Massachusetts. But, “Thought hard work, extreme dedication and a desire to somehow recreate a medieval art form, this young man [Charles A. Whiting], who was hired as an office apprentice would eventually become owner of the company.” Whiting and Davis made everything from woven metal and chainmail/armor style mesh to mesh so fine it could be confused with silk (Dresden). Production was halted during World War II because of metal restrictions; but when business returned to normal, bright gold- and silver-tone armor mesh bags were made en mass. These are the bags you most commonly find today.
“Beadlite enamel (with a raised center resembling a bead) was also common” during the 1930s. That is the style of this particular bag. If you look closely, it appears that there is wear to the tops of all of these “beads” – too even! This particular bag is a “Duotone” bag – “White with brushed gold / The Latest for Spring / A ‘Fashion First’ for Summer” (Whiting and Davis ad in Harper’s Bazaar, April, 1936).
The top of this bag is really what drew me to it in the first place. Its art deco etching just makes the whole bag that much prettier. “The gatetop of expansion purse frame which came into vogue in the 1880s created a novelty sensation.” What an incredible mechanism for a purse! Imagine the frustrations a drawstring-topped purse caused when the string broke or you didn’t tighten it enough? Problem solved!
This Whiting and Davis Duotone Gatetop Mesh Bag will be for sale in our Etsy store!
All information taken from experience or Roseann Ettinger’s Handbags (1991) – similar to this newer edition on Amazon.