The History of Attaches, Briefcases and Other Carries

This Is Ground
May 11, 2016 · 3 min read

Two of the most common varieties of personal luggage are the attache and the briefcase. Today’s global business bag market has grown to over $30 billion in sales, but the origins of personal carriers are more modest.

In 1599 William Shakespeare wrote in his pastoral comedy “As You Like It” about a “whining school-boy, with his satchel.” Though personal luggage wasn’t yet as popular as today, it has long been a necessity even to whining schoolboys.

Before the 17th century, bags and personal carriers were crucial because most clothing didn’t have pockets. One of the earliest examples of a personal carrier is the Roman Loculus, a Latin word for “little place.” These personal satchels were likely made out of goat hide or calf leather.

Attache is a French word for a person within the administrative staff of an ambassador, and the earliest use of the briefcase goes back to the first attorneys. An attache houses a hinged frame and two compartments, whereas a briefcase includes an additional gusset allowing it to expand for greater storage.

The smaller attache primarily holds paper documents, where a briefcase more commonly carries additional items including laptops, tablets and other personal electronics.

Another popular bag is the messenger bag, which has roots back as far as 1950’s New York. Canvas shoulder bags were created for telephone linemen to carry their tools and supplies while they were suspended over the city streets. Today messenger bags are popular with bicycle commuters, distinguished from backpacks by a single over-the-shoulder strap.

The word ‘backpack’ was first coined in the US in the 1910’s. Before that, the German word rucksack (meaning literally ‘the back’ and ‘bag’) was commonly used to refer what we know today as the backpack. In ancient times these bags were used by hunters to carry large game and other prey, usually within a bag itself made of animal hide and sewn together by animal intestines!

Fast forward to current day, clothing of course has pockets but the rise of digital devices has made bags and carriers an essential part of daily life — from commuters to vacationers.

One of our focuses at This Is Ground is to eliminate the pitfalls and hassles of commuting and traveling. Our first product, the cord taco was a simple idea that solved a universal problem — the increasing mess and tangles of electronic cables powering our devices. The Venture backpack sought out to be an exceptional companion piece and improve on backpacks before it. The Mod expanded on these concepts of efficiency and improving travel, with it’s versatile inserts designed to satisfy all walks of life, from artists to board room executives.

Our latest evolution in personal carries, the Mod 2 Pro is coming soon.

the Mod Pro in cognac

This Is Ground

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