In order to identify Whiting and Davis bags, you have to know about the qualities associated with the products of the Whiting and Davis company. Know about the characteristics of the Whiting and Davis bags.
The Whiting and Davis bags are made with linked metals in a mesh pattern. From a distance, the intricate patterns of the Whiting and Davis bags appear as those composed of fabric, yet when examined closely, you can see that the bag is made out of metal links. Examine the quality of the bag. Whiting and Davis bags are made with high-quality metals and other materials. The metals consist of true aluminum, brass and stainless steel. Other materials are genuine snake leather, Italian lambskin leather and satin. Over the next few years improvements were made to the machine, and other types of mesh were developed, including the product most associated with Whiting and Davis, spider mesh, or armor mesh.
The nice thing about spider mesh was that it was easier to paint designs on than was the older, Dresden mesh of just the interlocking rings. In the late s they had an association with designer Elsa Schiaparelli, in which the bags were advertised as being based on Schiaparelli designs. Click to see the details. Note the different types of mesh that were being produced in This glove was produced after a mink farm went to them seeking a glove to protect their workers from bites.
The gloves proved to be valuable in other jobs, including that of garment cutters. During WWII Whiting and Davis helped produce radar equipment, but when the war was over they went back to handbags and other accessories such as wallets and belts. During the s they also returned to the production of jewelry. Throughout that time handbags were still produced, but by the s the company was steering away from handbags and jewelry and was developing more industrial safety products.
But this story has a happy ending. The company was bought by plant manager Darrin Cutler who then set about to return the company to its roots as a handbag and jewelry maker.
Today both are made, along with other mesh products such as curtains. And they will work with companies to develop mesh products to meet their needs. I was surprised when I realized how many of these pieces I own.
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Besides the two s bags I have a belt, probably s, a s wallet and change purse and a s neck piece. We have a lot of vintage mesh handbags and purses in Australia, which were produced by Glomesh and Oroton during the 60ss. I have seen a few Whiting and Davis bags mostly in antique places.
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Another wonderful informative piece. Can I just say thank you for what you do? Thanks so much from another collector! What great pieces and accompanying history! I looked on etsy, and was a bit shocked at the asking prices. Looks like I got a bigger bargain than I thought, and so did Caryn who posted above. If you go on ebay, the prices go even higher! And your bag has the lining intact — these almost nevernevernever seem to feature a lining, and the mesh is more often than not separating from the frame at the hinges.
Your bag is a beauty! For information on dating vintage mesh bags go to http: More in-depth articles on this subject are planned for future publication. The geometric design on your bag is stunning.
How to Identify Whiting and Davis Bags
I toured the Whiting and Davis factory in the early 90s. The way the mesh is knitted is fascinating. The factory lent large sheets of aluminum mesh to be used as space dividers for a museum exhibition I curated. We had to return them when the show was over, but I still have the sample piece they gave me.
Metal Mesh Handbags, Clutches and Shoulder Bags | Whiting & Davis
I turned it into a tunic and use it each year for my Halloween costume! I have a coin purse I think the model number is as it says inside.. I thank you in advance!
Maybe there are some vintage purse blogs that have the info you need. To Vicky…The number on the inside of your purse is the model number of the frame, not the purse.
The bracelet featured seamless hinges and a spring, rather than a clasp which was popular at the time. Until , ring mesh was crafted entirely by hand, traditionally by skilled goldsmiths. As the demand grew, many New England families began bringing the mesh home after hours, weaving the links and rings by hand in their spare time.
The technique was very slow and laborious so by , Charles Whiting was eager to improve the factory's efficiency. He sought out A. Pratt, an inventor in Newark, N. At the speed of rings per minute, these machines were able to perform the cutting, splitting and joining - all tasks formerly done by hand. The Twenties brought in Art Deco and geometric designs. Some of the brand's most popular handbags, still sought-after today, were introduced in this decade such as the Princess Mary, El-Sah, Picadilly, Delysia, Sunset, to name a few.
The designs were adored by women across the country, from Hollywood to the everyday woman. Even were they not the accepted thing among modish women, I confess to the fear that I would possess one simply to revel secretly in the fascination of its gleaming silken-textured mesh. They called it the famous "Whiting" soldered mesh. The women danced in silver and golden mesh dresses as an enormous mesh handbag hung in the background scenery. Charles Whiting reminisced in the company newsletter, "It was no unusual sight in the summer to ride through the country and see groups of women and girls sitting under the trees in their yards making bags just as you would see them spending an afternoon sewing.
The collection was introduced through a dramatic full-page ad in The Jewelers Circular, announcing the colorful, painted handbags featuring Dresden, flat and Beadlite mesh.