by Winston Hughes on 06/18/13
If you're planning to go on the road anytime soon, you can make life more convenient - and look more stylish - by bringing along a Dopp kit. A Dopp kit is a sleek container made of leather or canvas, packed with an astonishing array of compartments. With such a kit, it's easy to store those all-important grooming tools: a razor, shaving cream, comb, toothpaste, and so on. These kits also provide plenty of storage space for items you might need if you're in a pinch, such as mini-flashlights and aspirin. Indeed, the Dopp Kit has been assisting travelers for decades - and it has enjoyed quite a colorful past.
It All Begins with Charles Doppelt
Charles Doppelt was a German native who emigrated to America in the early 1900s. Doppelt opened a leather goods store in Chicago, and he designed many of his own products. However, it was Jerome Harris - Doppelt's nephew and employee - who in 1919 devised the product that would earn Doppelt lasting fame: a super-handy travel case. Doppelt began selling these cases at his store. From the start, each had "Dopp" printed on it, which was obviously short for "Doppelt." Doppelt's faithful customers thus began referring to these cases, with affection, as "Dopps."
A National Phenomenon
Dopp kits might have remained a local favorite, like Chicago-style hot dogs, had it not been for the contract that Doppelt secured with the U.S. Army during the Second World War. Having learned of the Dopp kit, the Army was eager to assign one to each of its enlisted soldiers - which meant millions of people would now rely on Charles Doppelt's product for their toiletry needs. And when those soldiers returned home at the close of the war, many of them conitinued to use their Dopp kits.
Dopp kits now constituted a national phenomenon. In fact, during the mid-twentieth century, whenever a boy reached adulthood, it was common for his parents to recognize the occasion by buying him a Dopp kit. Many men would simply pass their own Dopp kits on to their sons.
The Modern Dopp Kit
In the early 1970s, the global luggage company Samsonite purchased the Charles Doppelt Company. Then, in 1979, Buxton Company bought the rights to the Dopp kit from Samsonite. Buxton, founded in 1898, is a worldwide leader in leather goods products. Today, Buxton's line of Dopp items also includes wallets, passport cases, and miscellaneous travel products for men.
It's interesting to note that the design of the Dopp kit has changed very little over the years. However, the term "Dopp kit" has become generalized, and many people refer to their travel cases as "Dopp kits," whether or not those cases are official Dopp products.
Now that you know what a Dopp kit is (stylish, incredibly useful and generally awesome) and that you should have one, check out the Ball and Buck Waxed Canvas Dopp Kit. Our custom version of the venerable kit is strong, reliable, and hand-stamped. Each is made of waxed canvas and Horween leather.
In 1952, a print advertisement stated that if you asked one million men whether or not they enjoyed their Dopp kits, you'd get a million responses of "yes." What was true then remains true today.