What is a Doctor’s Bag?
A doctor’s bag (also known as a gladstone bag) is a bag traditionally used by doctors to carry around medical supplies when visiting patients. Typically a smart, structured bag made from stiff leather (a saddle or vegetable tanned leather) the bags have a large opening at the top, allowing them to be opened widely.
History of the Doctor’s BagLeather doctor’s bags date all the way back to the Victorian era. They are traditionally known as gladstone bags named after Victorian prime minister, William Ewart Gladstone. A gladstone bag was the bag of choice for the Prime Minister due to it’s lightweight style. The bag soon became adopted by doctors for the same reason. Back then, it was very common for doctors to make home visits to patients and a large, lightweight bag for carrying equipment made these trips a lot easier.
During the World Wars military surgeons would make use of the bags for getting necessary tools and medicines to fallen soldiers, often dodging fire to do so. The lightweight style of the bag was more important than ever, not to mention the fact that they could be opened wide to make it easy to get to necessary equipment quickly.
Today, some of the original bags are collectable antique items. The smell of original bags still contain aromas from the medicines doctors would carry.
Due to their large, storage focused design and wide opening, leather doctor medical bags make great travel bags or briefcases. Using a leather doctor bag as a briefcase takes the timeless design right back to its original use by Prime Minister Gladstone. The wide opening and large design makes it ideal for carrying around laptops, documents and notepads.
A vintage leather doctor bag can make a really trendy overnight bag. Just like with it’s other potential uses, the bag’s size, lightweightness and large opening make it a convenient yet stylish bag for travel.
Smaller designs of the doctor bag also make great purses or handbags. New designs take elements from the original bags while modernising and adapting for uses other than to carry medical equipment.