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Elsa Manufacturing Co.
Saint Louis 13, Missouri

Design Patent 168,376 was issued December 9, 1952 to Abe Rothman ad was produces in molded acetate by Elsa.

The most often seen bags feature a vertically ribbed molded tortoise acetate body, molded handles, designed with no metal hardware fittings and an 8-sided amber lid with moldes center floral surrounded by curved branches and flanked by smaller flowers. A Presto latch closes the bag. A short brass interal hinge is used. Hemishpere feet are molded into the bottom of the bag as is the markes mark. Acetate bags of this type in excellent condition usually sell $150 or less.

Another Elsa style is the popular 2-tier handbag. This balck example carries the design patent number D-163037 which surprisingly was granted to William H. Hardy, the designer of Wilardy Handbags Wilardy April 24, 1951.

Wilardy made 2-tier bags to this design but here are considerable differences. Elsa's renditions are molded acetate, not the more epensive and desirable lucite. However, this does not prevent ignorant or unscrupulous online sellers from posting and selling the cheaper acetate bags as lucite and achieving lucite prices. this black Elsa, sold as lucite, was sold for $178.50 in 2006.

When properly indetified, these Elsa 2-tier bags generally sell under $100. Examples have also been found in tortoise and white. Close examination of the patent drawing and the bag point to Elsa's use of molded acetate Handle and latch supports as opposed to the original sterdier brass metal fittings and "S" curved metal swivel plates rather than straight ones.


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Page last modified on July 26, 2011, at 12:52 PM