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History of the wallet

Either it is a classy elegant leather wallet or a sport wallet, nowadays this is an indispensable accessory in modern people’s lives. However, the concept as we know it today has come a long way since its early days.

If today we associate the term “wallet” with a small, pocket sized item used for carrying cash, credit cards, documents and even photos, in Ancient Greece it denoted a kind of travelers’ survival pack, filled with food or supplies, which were restocked at first chance. They were large and in charge, and definitely not adequate for a night out. It wasn’t until the Renaissance period that the word began to designate a cash carrying vessel, though the term was still applicable to a wide range of carrier bags. Since during that time metals were introduced as currencies, simple purses similar to drawstring bags were used to carry coins.

Wallets for storing banknotes appeared in the late 1690's, after paper currency was invented in Massachusetts. The first wallets that were created back then were usually handcrafted from cow or horse leather, and contained one small pouch where people would place their identification cards (called calling cards in those times).

The modern slim, pocket sized wallet, with many different compartments for cash and credit cards was created in the 1950’s, after the invention of the credit card and hasn’t changed much since, except for the Velcro wallet that came on the scene in the 1970s. In the 1996 was invented the billfold wallet that diminished the size and massiveness of the original wallet to half.

In the 21 century, wallets have evolved in an incredible way in many different aspects such as shape, size, design and color, both for stylistic purposes and function. For instance, European people prefer the bi-fold or tri-fold wallets, because they are typically larger as compared to the minimalist American wallets, and most of the times contain a coin purse compartment with built-in clasps or bands to keep them closed. This difference is due to the different design and size of European banknotes, such as Euros and Pounds, which are generally larger than the American dollars, and the intensive use of large coins in Europe.

Although in the past wallets were typically associated with men, nowadays leather goods manufacturers focus their attention so much on women preferences as well, and constantly create and recreate designs, that women wallets became a true niche market where most of the times the stylistic purposes prevail.

Wallets have evolved and improved incredibly much and will probably continue to do so, as most people think of them not only as useful necessary items but as true accessories that reveal much about their personality.

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