In the days before the Civil War, there was no internet. There was no telephone. There was no radio, there was no telegraph. There were men, horses, and leather bags, riding from point to point ferrying messages back and forth between offices that sorted messages and put them in the next rider’s bag who was heading in the right direction. This simple method allowed a previously impossible feat: A message could leave St. Joseph, Missouri and arrive in San Francisco a mere ten days later. Some bags used for similar purposes in the 1890s and early 1900s still exist today, and Albatross Leather has launched and successfully funded a Kickstarter Project to recreate bags in this tradition.
Albatross Leather Goods Postal Bag
Materials: Leather, Copper and Brass
Measurements: 15 inches wide, 12 inches tall, 5inches deep. Non-rigid, semi-amorphous.
Weight: 3.7 Pounds (1.7 kg)
Price: From $239
This particular postal bag is the same style used by postal workers in the 1930’s and 1940’s. A slightly larger version was regularly used to transport as many as 30 kilograms (almost 70 pounds) of paper and parcel at a time, and Albatross CEO Eric Heins assures me this reconstruction will do the same. Albatross is using North American steer hide from a source that preferred not to be named– but given the quality of the leather, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same leather inTanner Leather Goods store in downtown Portland Oregon. With one exception, an historically accurate split-leather divider on the interior pocket divider, the entire bag is made of full grain natural tanned leather.
Speaking of historical accuracy, the leather strap on the postal bag is made of a single layer of full-grain leather specially cut to resist stretching. Albatross tested a few postal bags and did not observe any stretching over 2 years of use. While certain other high-end bag makers use polyester strips in belts and straps to prevent stretching, Heins says Albatross uses stronger leather that grants immunity to this problem. I’m not sure any leather is capable of preventing 100% of stretching, but a small amount would not be game-breaking. Even “no stretch” polyester strips can stretch a percent or two, but if the strap or any other part of an Albatross Leather product fails, the 3-generation guarantee should have you, your kids, or grandkids covered.
Natural tanned leather starts it’s lifecycle almost more pink than tan. As it ages, it progresses to tan before becoming a deep bronze as the oils oxidize and intermesh more with the leather’s naturally occurring collagen. The result will be an increasingly dark color that continues to progress to the deepest bronze. At all three stages, the leather makes the perfect material for purses. I personally might feel a bit self-conscious carrying the natural leather bag around at this stage, but a few hours in the sun should burn out the pink and progress it to tan quickly enough for the bag to become the perfect shade for a men’s messenger. And over the years, it will only grow more appealing for everyone,
Wefty actually has a natural tan wallet like this from another producer, and if enough of you ask I’m sure I can convince him to get off his lazy butt and share some pictures over on our Facebook Page. Of course, Albatross also has wallets covered, too.
Albatross Leather Goods Bifold Wallet
Measurements: 3.5 inches wide, under 9 inches long open, 4 1/4 inches long closed.
Weight: To be determined.
Price: From $39
With 8 card slots and a cash compartment, this is a serious wallet made of full grain natural leather and saddle stitching. The wallet doesn’t currently lie flat when open or closed, but as the leather stretches I’m sure it will come to. The design is actually to ensure that the wallet has plenty of room for flexibility, and the wallet’s ability to open smoothly.
I’m impressed. And at the prices Albatross is offering on their Kickstarter, it’s no wonder they’ve amassed a sizeable following and secured over $25,000 for their brand’s launch. You can still snag a postal bag for $239, and a wallet for $39 for the next few days. They also are doing pretty neat bottle opener belt-hook keychain. Prices are likely to be higher after the Kickstarter ends when Albatross launches it’s online store, so I’d suggest you check them out now– Their project closes this week.