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Box Purses - Facts and Tips

Cleaning your Beaded Box Purse

By the early 1940's, the scarcity of metals and purse frames swayed designers to utilize other materials. A wide variety of shapely box purses became all the rage, including the oval and round hat box and pill box styles.

Heavy knit beadwork covered the entire exterior of many of these thick cardboard based purses.  The beadwork was often enhanced with ruffles, raised beaded embellishments and on a rare occasion, fringes.  Lids were often enhanced with an interior mirror and quality satin was used for lining the inner components.

A large majority of these beaded purses were manufactured by DuBonnette, K & G, and the Fre-Mor Company.  They were encrusted with blue, black, bronze or white glass beads and even cut steel.  Some examples included sturdy metal or plastic frames and large braided handles made of glass beads.

Keeping your beaded box purse clean is a relatively easy chore, however, never soak your box purse, place it under running water or spray cleaners directly on the purse because of the hard cardboard base.



A cup of warm water with a drop or two of mild soap can be used with a clean soft tooth brush.  Stir lightly, dip your brush, shake off excess water and brush in the direction of the beadwork, making sure to work in small areas at a time.  The brush will lift off any dust so continual rinsing and re-dipping of the brush into the soapy water is needed often, always shaking excess water off.  After you have cleaned the desired areas, in the same manner, re-brush the areas with clean warm water and then allow your purse to dry thoroughly.

A sparkling beaded purse will emerge and if you feel that your purse may have gotten to wet or too damp, blow dry immediately with warm air. Afterwards, air dry for several more hours before storing. Linings can be refreshed in the same manner being careful not to get them too wet and then gently blow dry immediately.

Store your box purse in a dry, cool area. Their dresser top decorative qualities are splendid. Wrapping in white tissue paper is recommended when storing in a drawer or when other objects will rub against it. Remember, your beaded box purse is essentially a vintage textile and must be allowed to breathe, so never store in a closed plastic bag.  Keep away from direct heat, excessive humidity or direct sun for any prolonged periods of time.

I recommend purchasing the very best condition possible.  With proper care, these box purses will service you well throughout your lifetime.  Their heirloom qualities will keep the 1940's alive when you pass it along a family member or friend.

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