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Location 1955:


Wilardy Originals
A Division of Handbag Specialities
6 West 32nd St.
New York City
LA 4-9764

Office & Factory:
117-36th St.
Union City, NJ
UN 6-4297

New Showroom December 1955-1959:

Wilardy Originals
347 5th Ave.
New York

The Wilardy trademark was first used in 1948. The name was revived in 1967 and renewed in 1976 by a Chicago company, making Lucite bath accessories.

Wilardy Handbags were marked either with a paper label or embossed lettering on the inside hinge surface. The US Pat. Pend on this example dates this bag before 1954.

Before 1954, Jewelry, handbags and other fashion items were protected by US Patent. The process of documenting and filing the paperwork for every item was cumbersome and expensive. The simpler copyright process was reserved for art, books and films.

Leo Krussman of Trifari in New York was the first to file for copyright protection for costume jewelry design. After a favorable Supreme Court ruling, it became common practice for makers of fashion items to protect their designs with copyright, not patent. So, as a rule of thumb, items marked "Pat. Pend.", "Pat. Applied for", or "US PATENTED" can safely be dated pre-1954.

Wilardy's 1953 catalog included a pastel plaid color option. This oval front body shape is style 876. While the embedded plaid is similar or identical to Charles Foster's plaid bag CharlesFosterCo, the hardware is all Wilardy.

The January 1955 Handbags & Accessories includes this ad for a Wilardy Rhinestone Clutch, featured in the Ida Lupino film "Private Hell 36." Ida Lupino shares writing credit with her ex-husband Collier Young and she starred in this hard edged late film noir offering.
(Handbags & Accessories January 1955, page 29)

Buy Private Hell 36 at

This black Lucite clutch ringed with rhinestones sold online in 2005 for $413 after a bidding war among 15 bidders! The bag measures 7 1/4 x 4 3/4".

The white version of this clutch also sold in 2005 for $176 after interest by 16 bidders.

The March 1955 issue of Handbags & Accessories carried a fabulous view of the plastics that were such an innovative addition to bag design. As you might expect, Wilardy had several examples featured. See the article at 1955Plastics

A tambourine bag! I never knew that's what it was! Anyway, its a rare bag from 1955 and highly prized by collectors. Fifteen bidder battled for one example measuring a petite Black Lucite 6" in diameter. It auctioned for $1,126 in 1999. The same bag in clear Lucite sold for $300 in 2005.

If you look carefully, this display window is full of Wilardy bags ca. 1955! The unusually shaped bag on the far left was a design award winner for Will Hardy in 1954.

More comment on the 1955 line on page 44

Wilardy Originals has opened a new and larger showroom at 347 - 5th Ave. The main office and factory remains at 117 36th St., Union City, N. J. (Handbags & Accessories December 1955, page 46)

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

William H. Hardy's patent for the Spring lock used on so many Wilardy bags was filed Jan. 28, 1957 and issued Oct. 22, 1957.

  Will Hardy Spring Latch Patent 2,810,599

Large travel bags priced over $25 inhabited a full page feature in the December 1959 Handbags & Accessories, page 46.

Have Large Roomy Bag Can Travel

"A bag that travels must be large and roomy with many pockets both inside and out. All types of leathers are being shown for resort and travel wear. Styling leans toward the tailored look and colors know no bounds. The shoulder strap is back!"

LUCITE, a very important and attractive material. The box bag at left is ornamented with jeweled names and a self-luggage-handle; right is an oval shaped box with a jeweled lock and self-handle. Wilardy, 347 Fifth Ave.

This gray lucite example of the ornamented box bag measures 9 x 4.5". Rome, Paris, London, Lisbon and Venice rhinestone emblems decorate the front and back. The bag auctioned online in 2005 for $300, in spite of the apparent fogging in the bottom left corner and several scratches. The seller indicated the bag had been advertised by Wilardy in 1951 as the "Travel Trunk," and while the title is apt, the Bag Lady will date the bag to the documented 1959 date. Note the presto lock hardware on the illustrated example is replaced with by an ornamented Wilardy style closure in this example.

This shape, in various styles and sizes, is logically referred to as a teardrop. This example in translucent tortoise lucite is wider at the bottom than the top.


Wilardy Originals, 347 Fifth Ave., showing lucite boxes in colors and clear cut crystal effects including a group of clutch bags. Lovely rhinestone treatments are used on some styles. The bone and sand colors are leading for spring shoe coordination. Bags here generally retail from $7.95 to $55. (December 1959 Handbags & Accessories, page 50.)

The 1960s

As a 1960 member of the National Authority for the Ladies Handbag Industry, Wilardy introduced their Spring line on January 4, 1960. 1960NationalAuthorityMembers

Wilardy Gallery

990381: Wilardy clear lucite Stardust Bag with embedded rose-beige tulle netting, sparked with dashes of star-like glitz. Embossed signature in the inside hinge. Strip latch slides over tiny metal peg to close. Double hinged strap handles. Excellent condition. Measures 7 3/8 x 4 x 3 1/2".

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