When it comes to style and perfectly executed craftsmanship, few items of luggage are as attractive or iconic as the Gladstone Bag. This classic bag is not only an extremely attractive status symbol, but the design is also immensely functional, serving the needs of doctors and lawyers, entrepreneurs and business owners, and other professionals besides. As a Christmas gift the classic Gladstone Bag is hard to beat.
The original Gladstone Bag developed in the mid-19th century and represented a kind of suitcase built on a rigid frame that could be split into two separate parts. It was usually made of very strong leather and was often 'tied' with lanyards also made from leather.
The bag was designed by leather shop owner J. G. Beard who traded in Westminster, London, and who was a keen supporter of William Gladstone, the Prime Minister of the day who was renowned for his love of travelling and after whom Beard named his invention.
It was the Gladstone bag from which developed suitcases as we know them today, even though many items today described and even sold as 'Gladstone bags' are very little like the original design Beard gave to his invention. Although the design is considered typically English in design it was actually based on an earlier French design of travelling bag.
No matter how today’s designers try to emulate the original design no other bag or item of luggage possesses the elegance and style of the compartmentalized briefcase that formed the design of the original design.