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Believe it or not, but the idea of a physician bag is literally ancient. It can be found in ancient Greek medical writings and Egyptian drawings. So it was clear even hundreds of years BC that a doctor should be equipped with a small case fitted to hold the necessary items required when visiting patients.
In the contemporary era, military and navy surgeons carried military approved sets of instruments in a chest or a box. Medicine chests were also available for purchase at pharmacies and contained a range of tools as well as ingredients that could be used to compound their own medicines.
Back in the 18th and 19th centuries city doctors visited patients either on foot or took a buggy and country doctors reached their patients horseback. So the main requirement for a physician bag was for it to be easily portable while still containing everything that might be needed at an emergency. Then the Gladstone bag appeared and fulfilled that purpose admirably.
The Gladstone bag was designed and manufactured in the middle of 19th century by J. G. Beard, a London leather dealer. He named the bag “Gladstone” after William Gladstone, the British Prime Minister, whom he greatly admired. Since Gladstone was known for his international travels, the bag bearing his name was designed to hold important private documents while travelling. But its sturdy shape and wide gaping frame proved to be just what the doctor ordered and soon enough they were globally known as doctor bags.
Since then this leather physician bag has become an icon in its own right, associated with luxury, opulence and style. Still widely used by doctors, but also adopted by stylish men and women as a travel bag or a daily work bag, that combines timeless elegance with modern chic.