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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
Antiques Corner

It's in the Bag

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Question: There is no second sack inside this vintage water bag, which makes me wonder if there was originally another bag or if the water was contained by the linen you see here. What can you tell me about the function and age of this interesting item?

Answer: Motor vehicles weren't always as reliable as they are today. High temperatures, especially in the desert, often caused the engine to overheat. Prudent motorists, therefore, carried these bags filled with water for drinking or for use in the radiator, if needed. The self-cooling water bag is designed to keep water cool through the process of evaporation. Made of imported linen, the bags needed to be soaked before filling to swell the fibers, making them watertight. The bags were hung from the radiator, hood ornament or a door handle. The cork cap on this bag is a clue that it dates to the mid-20th century. These water bags are often found on internet sites priced in the $25 to $35 range. Hirsch-Weis Canvas Products became better known as the originators of the White Stag apparel line.

-- By Tom Hoepf, associate editor of Auction Central News

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