Throughout history the peasant and the wealthy have used pouches to carry their necessities. Small pouches once used by notable characters, like Henry the VIII, Marie Antoinette and Christopher Columbus are sold at auction for hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars. A pouch reportedly used by Issac Newton to carry his rudimentary tools for measuring solar gain recently sold for 2.4 million at Sotheby’s. Do not underestimate the value of the pouch, then or now.
Needless to say if you are not a collector, this is interesting, but not influential in your life today. The history of the pouch is a simple one based on the practical necessities of everyday life. For millennia the pouch has played a functional role in our lives. The predecessor of the modern day purse or day pack, the “possibility bag” was common daily apparel in the days of the pioneer and the mountain man. So named because it could carry everything one could possibly need in a day away from the homestead.
You can still find beautifully handcrafted possibility bags for sale. Pouches have been deemed a fashion accessory as well as a practicality. Leaving the carrier hands free while keeping belongings safe, mobile and nearby has long been an art form. Different manufactures show designs from the mid-evil era through to the contemporary high tech gear we can buy on-line.
The difference between a pouch and other personal accouterments is the simplicity. Sure a pouch may have a few extra pockets to slide a few coins or bills in, or a ballpoint pen or a cell phone, but it’s basically a simple, no fuss, easy to use carry case. That being said; a bag with pouchlets dating back to the late 1300s took the idea of extra pockets to a new level of functionality. It provided pouches within a pouch.
Our modern day purses used by both women and men have their origins in the pragmatic pouch. We can’t leave home without keys, phone, personal items and expect to have a sensible day. The man bag has become a very acceptable personal accessory. Carrying everything from toiletries to computer this adaptable pouch has proven to be a must have for many intracity commuters.
Children learn from an early age the value of a pouch. Moms carry their newborns in Snuggleys or other womb like front-end pouches. Starting life out feeling secure and close to a parent gives the little one a sense of safety and ease. From this position the baby is able to feel Mom’s breathing, experience her natural movements and hear her heartbeat as it was accustomed to in the womb. The infant pouch has been used by women who work in the fields as well as those who cruise the malls.
Pouch packs are part of life from early on to old age. When cold weather sets in, sitting in front of the fire or watching your favorite sporting event on TV, or taking in a vintage movie there’s nothing better than getting cozy in a flannel body pouch. Designed to be a cocoon of comfort a body pouch is the ultimate way to settle in on a cold winter’s night.
Pouches come in all different sizes and lend themselves to multiple uses. It’s fair to say that nothing will ever replace their efficiency and common-sensibility.
Tell me what your favorite use of pouches is. Leave a comment below and maybe include a picture of your favorite personal pouch.