Ever think about what travel was like years ago? It took time, lots of time and planning sometimes weeks, months or years of planning. If you were going across country, it could involve taking just about everything you owned. If you were just taking a short trip it could be much more straightforward. Packing for any trip 100 years ago involved packing enough to get you through the trip and back home again. If you were wealthy, you never had to think about it because Jeeves packed and carted all your necessities but if you were like most people, you needed ways to make your trip more bearable.
Last year I wrote about Train Cases and how they were used when traveling a day or so on a train to carry a few necessities on the train while your larger luggage was stored in a box car or luggage car further back in the train. These small cases can be difficult to find but are gaining in popularity today and quite trendy to use in repurposed home decor.
After writing that piece about three months ago, I started noticing not just the train cases that were a smaller suitcase for overnight but, I came across three vanity cases with bottles, jars, mirror, comb and brush. So thinking ahead, I bought them all to sell in Texas for the Round Top Antiques Market in March.
A vanity case is a little different than a train case. It was packed with all the necessities of a vanity: brush and comb, mirror, jars for creams, perfume or scent bottles, nail file all with designated space and straps to hold the pieces in place ensuring a safe passage for your personal items.
The first of three vanity cases is more of a zipper folder about 8″ x 10″, filled with an assortment of necessary items. A hand mirror designed with Art Deco styling of brown and gold stripes with an embossed oval flower medallion on a soft butter yellow background matches the brush and jar lids. The Art Deco style of this set leads me to believe it originates from the 1930’s. The set was complete except for a missing comb which is an easy enough piece to replace.
Other accouterments inside the case are two cream or powder jars, one perfume bottle and one long jar (I’m thinking maybe for a toothbrush?).
The art deco style ridged perfume bottle is outfitted with matching screw-on cap and an inner shaker top that also screws off to fill with your favorite fragrance. This bottle fits snugly into the straps and another snap strap secures it in place for travel.
The interior of the case is covered in a lush chocolate brown moire taffeta which matches the brown stripe on the design of all pieces. The matching brown straps snap to hold everything secure for travel.
This lovely case is perfect to take on a train but you would still need some other luggage if traveling overnight since there is really no room for any sleepware in this case. The zipper case holds all its contents snugly but with little room for anything else.
The outside of the zipper case is embossed with a striped flower pattern similar to the medallion on the brush and mirror plus the original owner’s name: Hazel Bethman in gold block letters. I originally thought this case was rather masculine in design but the name Hazel let me know it was a woman’s. I think it could have worked equally well for a man.
As this case is at least 80 – 90 years old, it is in remarkable condition. The interior condition is exceptional; the outer condition is well loved. The zipper works fine; a little wear on the outer leather case but that could be from years of sitting on closet shelves. Why Hazel’s family chose not to hang onto this piece is a puzzle but, I am so happy to be one to come across this lovely case and make it available to future owners.
I decided to split this post into three separate posts to better show the other vanity cases so look for the next installment tomorrow and the next day.