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Coin Purses to Metal Wallets: A History

July 06, 2017

Coin Purses to Metal Wallets: A History

We’re going to take it back – way, way back.

Back to a simpler time, a time when men wore tights as a normality, conflict was settled by the sword, and art was more than a blank canvas—and well before metal wallets.

The Renaissance: The cultural bridge between the middle ages and modern history.

An archaic time – when money was still carried in jingling leather sacks of heavy coin. It wasn’t until briefly after, in the West, that an invention would shatter the foundations of the traditional everyday carry.

The most notable achievement of the post-Renaissance era?

The birth of the wallet, of course.

So, how did we go from leather coin purses to metal wallets?

The First Wallets

While the Chinese were the first to use paper currency, it wasn’t until the Massachusetts Bay Colony began using paper currency in the 1600’s, that leather “wallets” became the norm. They were typically made of cow or horse leather, and had slots for money and calling cards… Which, was like a business card, except you handed it out every time you needed to be announced upon arrival.

Not as practical as a metal, front pocket wallet, Elizabethan men wore their wallets “fixed to their belts, decently dressed, [along with] a sword.” Inside those wallets, he’d carry “cash, his book of accounts, and small articles of daily necessity.”

Sounds bulky, even then!


When Industrial America rolled around, wallets became a vessel for carrying tobacco and dried meats, of all things. It became a “civilized” practice to wear your wallet on your belt. It was even considered uncivilized to carry a wallet in your pocket! At least they weren’t promoting back problems as a result of their social norm.

The tobacco folds were mostly used in Spain, where money was carried along with “a small sheaf of white paper, flint, steel, and yesca (a dried vegetable fiber that would ignite upon spark).”

The Back Breakers

It wasn’t until the credit card was introduced in the 1950’s that the “modern” bifold was created with rows of slot inserts. These became the standard, along with sliding them into your back pocket and screwing your spine up – but, we’ve harped enough on that matter.

Metal Wallets

Now, we enter a time where people demand durability. They demand a wallet that promotes good health. A wallet made from metal, even – an attractive and modern look that also provide protection from RFID theft. Not just any metal wallet will do, though.

The Ridge: A metal wallet designed to hold all your cards and cash, be carried in your front pocket, withstand tremendous wear, and stop RFID theft with its metal casing.

We’ve entered the golden age of wallet making.

Guess who leads the revolution?

slim wallet