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Stock No. 250

Price = n/a


Women's Voluntary Service 'Aero-Pak' Travel Case - Click for the bigger picture

Women's Voluntary Service 'Aero-Pak' Travel Case

Another charming example that clearly has a story to tell. Like the other suitcase we have just listed it bears witness to its travels of long ago and rather like a passport it carries clues to its earlier working life in far flung locations. Some vintage luggage, like this example, enables it to tell a story a story from its applied labels and shipping marks and here we have a wealth of clues to work on.

The case is of modest dimensions at 18" x 18" x 9" (46 cm x 46 cm x 23 cm) and appears to have been the property of a lady serving with the W.V.S. Originally founded in 1938 as the Women's Voluntary Services the W.V.S. was initially formed to help recruit women into the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) movement in WWII, assisting civilians during and after air raids by providing emergency rest centres, sustenance, first aid, and perhaps most famously assisting with the evacuation and billeting of children. By 1943 the organisation had over one million volunteers and was involved in almost every aspect of wartime life. In 1966 the WVS was granted the honour of adding 'Royal' to its name and so became the W.R.V.S.

Our case carries a stencil name 'B.K.B. Jones WVS/UK' and below 'K/IE' and is also marked 'Cabin' so would have ben wanted on a sea voyage. It also carries a Cunard White Star Line 'Cabin Class J' label to the side panel and on the lid another reading 'Roma Abergo Anglo Americano'. The front panel of the case has owners initials B.K.B.J. (Bridget Jones perhaps?) as well as a metal manufactures tag reading 'Aero-Pak' and 'Deluxe Modern Luggage'. Aero Pak operated out of Petersburg, Virginia, U.S.A. and our research indicates they were formed in early 1900 and were manufacturers of 'wardrobe trunks and suitcases'.

This quality case features classic yellow stripes on the exterior with a leather covered handle again incorporating the same striped fabric. The edges of the case are covered in leather strips that show significant wear, commensurate with use. The fitted interior, which again shows signs of wear features elasticated pockets to the sides and a further larger pocket within the lid as well as tie down straps to secure items of lose clothing. We are unsure of the actual date of manufacture but at a guess say it is from the 1940's, endorsed by the Cunard White Star line sticker, as the company only operated under this name until between 1934 to 1949. This case would make a fine addition to either a W.V.S., White Star or vintage case collection and with its 'shabby chic' look and with its wealth of external makings it would also make a perfect film or stage prop for those looking for the ultimate in authenticity.

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