M979.34.1.1-3 | Glove stretcher and case

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Glove stretcher and case
About 1900, 19th century or 20th century
4 x 9.5 cm
Gift of Mrs. Justice G. Miller Hyde
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Glove stretcher (1)
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Keys to History

This ivory glove stretcher was designed to gently stretch the fingers of a new pair of kid gloves so that they could be slipped on without tearing the leather.

In the late 19th century, a well-dressed man's wardrobe always included many pairs of white or tan-coloured kid gloves. The leather was very soft, so the gloves required special care. Since the gloves soiled easily, etiquette books suggested that a man carry an extra pair at all times.

This glove case is an example of the many types of case the Victorians used. Travelling by train or ship became quite luxurious, and the well-to-do traveller carried all of his accessories for grooming and dressing in cases designed for the purpose. The cases were always made of leather and fitted with boxes, jars and brushes. At the time, there was no need to give consideration to the size or weight of baggage.

  • What

    This case has space to hold a number of pairs of gloves and comes with an ivory glove stretcher and a small buttonhook fitted into the top.

  • Where

    This glove case would have been included among the many pieces of luggage required for a holiday. Travellers needed to change several times each day in order to enjoy all of the available activities.

  • When

    The wearing of kid gloves by the well-groomed man began to disappear during the early 20th century, but gloves are still worn with a top hat for very formal occasions.

  • Who

    This glove case was owned by B.J. Coghlin (d. 1912), who emigrated from England in 1867.