Today in 1958, US Patent 2855969A was issued, an invention of Edward Fitch, for his “Ladies’ Handbag” (Shaped Like A Keg). There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
This invention relates to a novel handbag for use by women and girls and has reference to a handbag which is original in that it is constructed to represent a miniature barrel.
Needless to say, handbags are designed and constructed in almost every conceivable shape and form. Current trends have, however, led to styles which are in representation of boxes, baskets, and all sorts of rigid type containers. With a view toward extending and enhancing the appearance of uniquely styled handbags, it is an object in the present matter to embark on a newer line of thought. To this end, the instant concept has to do with a handbag which is singularly distinct and different in that it takes the form of a miniature barrel and which lends itself to eye appeal by reason of the fact that it is a replica of a genuine keg or barrel and is, at the same time, practical and useful.
Briefly and somewhat broadly the improved handbag is characterized by a container having a given exterior shape. The container is characterized by a rigid, hollow body portion and rigid top and bottom wall. Thus constructed, the container serves to provide a fixed interior receptacle portion which may be appropriately lined using suitable material which lends itself to use in ones handbag. The upper or top portion of the container is separate from and hingedly mounted on the upper part of the body portion and constitutes a lid or cover. As a general rule, this is provided on its interior side with a face mirror and at least one article holding clip which may be employed to support a readily accessible lipstick. Handle means is also appropriately mounted on the body portion and is such in construction that it adds to the over-all distinctive appearance of the handbag.
More specifically, the container in its preferred embodiment is constructed to represent a miniature barrel, and to this end the body portion is constructed from longitudinally bowed staves with their abutting lengthwise edges connected by inter-fitting tongues and grooves. Ornamental hoop-like bands encircle and are fixedly mounted on the body portion as well as the end portions in somewhat customary fashion and these may be made of highly polished brass, copper or the like. Although not absolutely necessary, the handle takes the form of a bail and this is fashioned in representation of a carrying handle used, for example, on a pail or bucket.
The invention also features a removable partition mounted adjacent the bottom and cooperating with the main bottom wall and defining a false bottom as well as a so-called secret compartment between itself and the bottom wall.
This is easily one of the oddest patents I’ve come across in two years looking through the patent records. I can’t imagine this was a popular design for a ladies’ purse, especially in 1958. Maybe if it was today and/or if it was meant to be ironic. I wonder if it was ever sold commercially, and if so, if many women bought one.