Tag Archives: ladies banking

The Garter Purse and the Stocking Room: 1905



The Latest Device to Protect Women Against Pickpockets

New York, Feb. 16. Gentle woman will in future carry her small change in a chamois purse fastened to a steel slide which runs along her garter. This is in compliance with the plan suggested by a prominent banking house, which proposes to give 1,000 of the purse-garters to its women customers. The slide is a steel affair and absolutely reliable; the clasp of the purse is beyond suspicion; but the method of attack is left entirely to the individual.

If Mother Eve had been guilty of hosiery, the inception of its use for the concealment of stray coin would doubtless have been laid at her door. Even the experts consulted yesterday were at a loss to determine the responsibility, though Dr. Mary Walker as prominently mentioned. Dr. Mary’s exemption from the disadvantages of the rest of the sex seemed sufficiently strong evidence in the feminine mind. The wad used to be carried invariably well down—that is, just below the point of the widest circumference. Singularities of gait were accounted for by the fact that in moments of exuberance the wad worked up. Sometimes it surmounted all the undulations and escaped into space.

Later, when the garter rose above the knee, the wad rose with it.

At the opening the St. Louis exposition manufacturers put upon the market a stocking with a long pocket—a gain in convenience but the hump still remained. But the purse which will hang on the outside of either garter solves the artistic question and saves a few blushes. The Wichita [KS] Daily Eagle 17 February 1905: p. 9

Laying aside the question of shameless pick-pockets “frisking” ladies or “wads” of bank-notes disfiguring a gown’s fashionable line, the next article tells of the innovative bank who created the garter purse as well as a sanctum for ladies wishing to access the funds concealed in their stockings.

This is a story,” says the World, “of honi soil qui mal y pense. It concerns the pocketless woman and then only if she carries hers in her hosiery. It is a bad habit. Coin of the republic wandering about on exploring expeditions inside warranted lisle thread or web silk is apt to be disconcerting to the most self-contained woman. The feminine intelligence will grasp the aggravations of the situation at a glance. It did grasp them yesterday afternoon at the Hotel Astor when, before the West End Republican Club, the monthly report of Mrs. Belle de Rivera, touching on momentous questions, legislative and others, made mention of the fact that a representative banking house was considering the feasibility of presenting garters to all its women depositors. Not the ordinary affair, with a wicked little bow and a gold clasp, unworthy of its responsibility. This garter is to be as plain and uncompromising as an unbecoming bonnet, with no weakness or sentimentality about it. Securely fastened to the circlet will be a chamois pocket, with a strong lock. The banking house, with the proper modesty, alludes to this as ‘a secret receptacle to carry funds,’ and has a plan to order 1,000 of them for presentation immediately.”

The bank’s idea is not entirely new. There is already a ” stocking-room ” established by the National Bank of Commerce in Kansas City. It proved to be such a popular innovation with the ladies, that the idea has been adopted in several other Kansas City banking institutions. The ” stocking-room ” is a small apartment, but it is beautifully finished in mahogany and plate glass. The floor is covered with a Persian rug, and four little leather- covered stools, each about twelve inches high. stand against the walls. The purpose of the stools is apparent. No longer is it necessary for the fair customer to kneel on the floor or lift one foot to a high chair to find her money. Men are barred from this little room during banking hours.

W. H. Winants. president of the bank, said: “I don’t know who gave it the name of ‘stocking-room,’ but it seems appropriate and comes to stay. The room has proved itself a convenience to many patrons who have praised our forethought. The incident that decided the bank officers to build the room was when a portly woman entered and showed the usual embarrassment when it came to producing her money. When she again appeared at the teller’s window she placed nearly $3,000 in bills on the counter. Where she had carried the money nobody would venture to say.” The Argonaut [San Francisco, CA] 27 February 1905

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil regrets that she could locate no historic example of the useful garter purse. The illustration at the head of this post shows a modern bride’s purse garter, a notion that perplexes Mrs Daffodil. Does the bride really need “mad money” or cab-fare on such an occasion? A bride’s “flask garter” is also available. One would suspect that a bride who needed such an accessory to go through with the ceremony might wish to reconsider her choice of gentleman.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.