Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vintage BELL SYSTEM 1950's-1960's era Telephone Repairman's Tool Bag

Vintage BELL SYSTEM bag with period correct removable / adjustable vegetable tanned leather strap with shoulder pad
Vintage 1950's-1960's era BELL SYSTEM telephone repairman's bag. Originally used to haul pole climbing spikes & gear  

These bags are often incorrectly offered as Leather tool bags. While they do feature leather handles along with leather buckle & d-ring straps, the main bag is constructed of the wonder fabric Naugahyde.

Nothing better evokes the post war optimism and better-living-through-chemistry ideology of America than the most genuine of fakes, Naugahyde. A PVC coated vinyl fabric unleashed into the American marketplace as a replacement for leather, it followed in a long line of heavily and effectively marketed, laboratory-launched imitations: Formica’s eclipsing of marble, Con-Tact paper’s mimicry and obfuscating of wood…  
Via Kaufman Mercantile Their great Naugahyde post from early 2010 is recommended reading.

All kidding aside, these vintage bags, in this fabric, have stood the test of time quite well and for years has been a much favored tool and accessory for both work and leisure.

Open bag shows one half of the riveted steel frame and top edge of the large rivet reinforced interior pocket
Close up shows faint Naugahyde stamping on inside portion of fabric. Backside of handle and strap rivets with leather washers can be seen along with interior pocket corner rivet reinforcement