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You’ve probably been wondering about the origins of the wallet for years, yeah?

October 30, 2013 | Scott

In a change to our advertised programme today we will mostly be talking about wallets instead of t-shirts.

Leigh Heggarty from Balcony Shirts has been pondering the origins of the wallet, he’s done some investigating … SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO!  – here’s what he discovered…

What A Difference A Dave Makes walletThe ancient Greeks carried a sack called a kibisis in which they kept their food and possessions – indeed in Greek mythology Perseus carried Medusa’s head around in one and used it to turn people into stone. Nasty! The word ‘kibisis’ translates as, you’ve guessed it, ‘wallet’.

European merchants began carrying coins and accounting paperwork in a pouch attached to their belt during the Renaissance period. This was initially called a ‘bowgett’ (it’s thought that this later became ‘budget’) before being renamed a wallet. Meanwhile in the American colonies wallets made from horse or cow leather began replacing drawstring purses, and a more formal definition of  ‘a flat case for carrying paper currency’ appeared in American English in 1834. Again this was worn on your belt rather than in your pocket which would have been considered socially unacceptable.

In Victorian times a wallet would just have a Choose Your Weapon walletcompartment for money, but with the widespread introduction of credit cards in the 1940s wallets evolved into the bi-fold and tri-fold types that we know today, with velcro fastening first appearing in the 1970s. These days there are digital wallets for your virtual credit cards – but we prefer the retro approach of our cool printed wallets, emblazoned with classic Balcony designs. And why not? After all it makes a change from t-shirts – although we’ve got them as well…

 

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