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Location 1942:

Empress Handbag Co., Inc.
27 West 32nd
New York

1949 Address:

Empress Handbag Co., Inc.
330 Fifth Avenue
New York 1, NY

Union City, N.J.

Easter Bags for the family were featured on page 46 of the February 1942 Luggage & Leather Goods, including this offering from Empress Handbags.

"Diamond shaped crinckled cording forms an attractive design in this faille pouch. The twisted frame is of prystal. This is shown in both dark and light colors to retail around $1.95. Empress Handbags."

Empress Handbag Company's display ad from the same issue, page 59.

The Cotton Charmers For Summer Selling article in the April 1942 Luggage & Leather Goods, page 40 illustrated new designs using innovative materials not limited by wartime priorities. 1942CottonSInTheBag

Long narrow underarm of embroidered monk's cloth. The multi color leaf design is worked out in yellow, green, rust and tan. A very large opening is possible with. the oval wood frame in natural color with carved rope trim. Retail $1.95. Empress Handbag Co

Display ad August 1942 "Luggage & Leather Goods," page 45.

Handbag News August 1942 issue of "Luggage & Leather Goods," page 57

$2.95 Line At Empress

Empress Handbags is playing up the $2.95 group more strongly this fall. Working with fabrics only, the firm uses faille, crystal pleated crepes and multi-corde stripes in combination with dark faille. Wood frames are used extensively. Some have prystal spring locks, others are carved, and there is also a gate frame type.
The firm continues its $1.69 and $1.95 line which includes mother and daughter styles in corduroy and bengaline, as well as crystal pleated material and solid corde fabric. A complete range of styles is shown.

Twins for the Hager's

"There's lots of excitement at the showroom and offices of the Empress Handbag Company, as their star salesman, Mac Hager, is now the proud feather of twins, a boy and a girl, namely Arlene and Wallace, weighing 6 and 7 Ibs. respectively." (Handbag News August 1942 "Luggage & Leather Goods," page 54)

The big move to larger premises was announced in this quarter page ad in "Handbag Buyer" June 1949, page 35.

Trade news of June 1949 included some details in the notice of Empress Handbag's move to a new showroom. ("Handbag Buyer" June 1949, page 40)

Empress Moves Showroom

"On June 1, Empress Handbag Co. moved into a handsome showroom at 330 Fifth Avenue, New York, where they will also maintain their executive offices.
The firm has purchased a large modern factory in Union City, New Jersey. With these additional facilities they expect to be able to improve production and deliveries."

The 1950's

Quarter page ad "Handbags and Fashion Accessories" February 1950, page 16

Corde Guimpe by EMPRESS
to retail for $3.00 and $5.00
Bags Illustrated are in our $5.00 group.

In 1954, Empress produced a line of Guimpe Corde' bags that started at $5.00, (about $60 in 2005 dollars.)

Handbags & Accessories July 1954, page 30

Handbags & Accessories July 1954, page 33

In May 1955, Handbags & Accessories ran this display ad for Empress Handbags (page 41.)

"Handbags & Accessories" October 1955, page 16

Accessory market round-up

"Metal filigree boxes topped with Incite are important reorders at Empress. These come in two styles and are available in clear, shell, gray, pearl and jet. About $5. retail."

"Handbags & Accessories" October 1955, page 36

Bags for Spring 1956 were presented on January 3, 1956 by agreement as a member of the National Authority for the Ladies Handbag Industry. 1956NationalAuthorityMembers

Examples for Fall 1956 from 10 prominant makers illustrated the article "New textures give new faces to casual bags for fall" on pages 14-15 of the August 1956 issue of "Handbags & Accessories." Empress' contribution:

"SURPLICE COLLARS, top and bottom appear in two styles in the Empress line, 330 5th Ave. Long pouch in gray or brown nubby tweed; bag right, in velvet, is tabbed with gold discs."

INTRODUCTION—Hy Grossman of Empress Handbags, recently returned from a trip to Japan and Hong Kong where he established a new import line that is being introduced in the spring collection of Empress Handbags. (December 1959 Handbags & Accessories, page 51)


Empress Handbags, 330 Fifth Ave., introduces bags of the new Weldron formula—an antique, burnished, leather effect that is resistant to wear and tear, and easy to clean. These bags have fashionable styled bodies and luxurious locks. All retail for $7.95, and are available in black, brown, natural, grey, white and bone. Also shown here is new spring and summer group of tapestry bags retailing from $7.95 to $10.95, and group of new straw bags from $7.95 to $10.95, in five colors. A selection of vinyls appears at $7.95. (Handbags & Accessories December 1959, page 52)

For More on Weldron and other products by The Barash Company BarashCompanyInc

(Handbags & Accessories December 1959, page 55)

Roomy Bags Excell for Travel and Resort
Under $10

Large roomy bags in smart casual styling are taking the lead for resort and travel wear. Of interest are the brightly colored straw bags in novel shapes, designed with travel costume coordination following the fashion story. (Handbags & Accessories December 1959, page 56)

"WELDRON" a new styling in new leather effect by Empress, 330 Fifth Ave. Smart self-covered frame on bag at the left with self-handle. Right, vagabond styling with double self-handles. Shown in colors.

The 1960's

Meringue vinyl is a soft expanded foam vinyl made by The Barash Company and the Empress bag illustrating the material is an ideal vintage example. This type of vinyl is perhaps better known as mushroom vinyl and was all the rage in the early 60's. The surface of this vinyl is not abrasion resistant and is absorbent. It common for this vinyl to pick up color from surfaces and materials stored near them. As a result, many vintage bags show discolorations that cannot be removed. Special care in storage should be taken with these bags. A fabric storage bags is ideal. The text of this ad in the June 1961 "Handbags & Accessories", page 15, indicates an improved formulation designed to eliminate some of these concerns.\\

"The more durable finish of "Meringue" eliminates returns and complaints due to soilage, stains, customer handling and poor performance in use. It is a tougher and far superior wear-resistant finish, yet retains that ever-so-soft-to-the-touch feeling that creates sales."

Display ad June 1961 "Handbags & Accessories," page 59

Later, in the late 1960s, Empress produced this wonderful cotton velvet bag is the psychedelic, Pucci-esque style of the time. This example was valued at $140 in 2005.

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