A little Worse for Wear
These little round (or differently shaped, sometimes) purses were worn (for daytime wear) from the 1850s to the early 1910s. They were called "Chatelaine Purses" and hung from a clip that was attached to a ring (which itself was connected to the suspension chains.) The clip itself was clipped onto the belt of the woman's bodice.
This example is a later example, dating from about 1899-1909, constructed of leather chamois and heavy silk or cotton, and beaded with cut steel beads. The frame is silver plate. One can find very similar examples in the 1902 Sears Roebuck Catalogue selling for $3.29.
This example originally had a clip attached to the ring, and a beaded fringe of the same cut steel beads across the bottom. Perhaps these were removed later when the Chatelaine Purse fell out of favor for the handbag.
Finally, after looking through many Flickr-hosted old photos I have found at least one example of a Chatelaine Purse in use. Here http://www.flickr.com/photos/piedmont_fossil/157368508/in/pool-100_years_old/ is a later example, probably from the mid to early 1910s. Look at the lady furthest to the right.
A really great example of one of these being worn can be seen (from the group : //www.flickr.com/photos/pantufla/66249104/in/pool-100_years_old/ ), clipped to the stout woman's belt.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009