The Messenger Bag

by post_author

I bought this men’s bag after searching for a women’s crossbody that was large enough to fit a laptop, and finding very few options that fit those two simple criteria. However, calling this bag a “messenger” could be a misnomer because, according to the internet’s wide ranging and conflicting definitions, it may be a messenger, satchel, briefcase, workbag, or something else entirely. Still unclear whether a messenger is a type of satchel or the other way around. 

The history of the messenger is an interesting one though, as it emerged in the 1950s in New York City when a company called Globe Canvas made shoulder bags for telephone linemen. The handsfree bags were convenient for when the linemen had to climb telephone poles, since any necessary tools were easily accessible. 

Later, in the 1970s, bike messengers in New York City became more common as vehicle traffic increased, and messenger firms issued the Globe Canvas bags to their deliverymen — hence the term messenger bag. In the 1980s, other messenger bag companies cropped up in major cities where bike messengers were also becoming more popular.

By the late 1980s and 1990s, the bag had become more of a men’s urban fashion statement and remains one today, balancing style with easy accessibility. And maybe it will catch on with women who wish to avoid the pain that comes with keeping one shoulder constantly hunched to wear a work tote.


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