Yesterday I gave you a little history lesson on the origin of the word 'lingerie'. Today, to continue with educating you, you're welcome, here's a little lesson on Carpet Bags.
The carpet bag was invented as a type of baggage light enough for a passenger to carry, like a duffel bag, as opposed to a wooden or metal trunk, which required the assistance of porters. It was a good travelling companion: in 1886, the Scientific American described it as old-fashioned and reliable: the carpet bag "is still unsurpassed by any, where rough wear is the principal thing to be studied. Such a bag, if constructed of good Brussels carpeting and unquestionable workmanship, will last a lifetime, provided always that a substantial frame is used." Its use implied self-sufficiency: in Jules Verne's 1873 novel Around the World in Eighty Days, Phileas Fogg and Passepartout bring only a carpet bag as luggage, which holds a few items of clothing and a great deal of cash.
Carpet bags used to be made of Oriental rugs or the Brussels carpet referred to above, meaning one with "a heavy pile formed by uncut loops of wool on a linen warp". Carpet was the chosen material because it was a popular domestic accent piece and the "remainder" pieces were easily bought. In a sense, the carpet bag was a sustainable invention because it used remnants of materials which otherwise would have gone unused.
Carpet bags sometimes also served as a "railway rug", a common item in the 19th century for warmth in drafty, unheated rail-cars. The rug could either be opened as a blanket or latched up on the sides as a travelling bag. From Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes (1879): "... my railway-rug, which, being also in the form of a bag, made me a double castle for cold nights." Wikipedia
I first read about carpet bags in my most favourite book "Gone with the Wind" and have loved the name and bags ever since. My Mum has a gorgeous carpet bag which I think she bought in Turkey. I secretly covet her bag, shoosh don't tell her!
Now not only do I love carpet bags but I love velvet, no history lesson on velvet today though, disappointing I know. So, carpet bags and velvet, velvet carpet bags. It was a given that when I found a supplier of velvet carpet bags I would stock them in my little boutique. Not only have I got carpet bags but also the most stunning velvet totes. My uni friends might remember I had a chartreuse velvet tote that I absolutely adored. Sadly the supplier didn't have bags in chartreuse. Chartreuse, such a beautiful description for a colour!
Anyway, there lies today's history lesson. Pop on over and check out my velvet bags, they are simply divine!