School Book Bags: Traditional Over-the-Shoulders Satchel

Figure 1.--Here we see a German boy in the early 1970s. He had both a traditional bppk satchel and a good cone for his first day of school. The crest on the boy's blazer is probably only a decoration. A German reader tells us, "I have never seen any school uniforms in Germany. The only exception is cadet-uniform in old photos. I have never see British-like school uniforms."

The traditional school book bag or satchel was a leather one worn on the back. We have few portraits taken from the back, so at this time we only have limited information on the design of these bags or satchels. They were very common in Europe. We note them being worn by boys abnd girls in several different countries. We notice in particulr at British, French, and German schools. We are not sure when they first appeared, but we note them being commonly worn in the mid-19th century. They were leather bags and solidly built. Many portraits of German boys with their first day cones also show them wearing a traditional leather school satchel. The time line is different in various countries. We do not seem them very much in France after World War II, but were still used in Britain and Germany into the 1960s. We are unsure as to other countries in which they were worn. They would normally last a boy throughout primary school. We see fewer images of girls wearing them. A British reader tells us that they were still worn into the 1960s, but we did not notice them in the 1890s. We notice them in Germany into the 1970s. They were also very popular in Japan. A reader writes, "Japan still uses these satchel. I was in Japan during 2006 and stachels were still being sold in all the department stores."


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Created: 3:10 AM 7/20/2008
Last updated: 2:12 PM 7/21/2008