~My Collection of Antique Maile Purses~
...these are what I first learned to make maile from...

They were in fashion back around the early 1900's and I think late 1800's.

You can click on these pictures to see a larger and more detailed picture.

This is the one I learned the euro4-1 weave from. I think its also the oldest one I have and may have been made by hand. The rings are much larger than in the ones pictured below. The mail is sewn into thin leather between the silver handle parts. The engraving on the handles of this one is very nice and much more intricate than in the ones below. Of the three maile purses I own this one is in the worst shape. Its all silver and on the inside the words "German Silver" are stamped. Only a few links of the chain handle are still intact. I may try to restore this one some day but it would be hard to do because it does not have the strip of maile along the bottom that can be used for extra rings...I'd have to make my own silver rings and repairing it in such a way might decrease its value.

This was the second one I acquired. I found it at an antique show for $30. It was a pretty good deal I think...only had a couple little moth holes for me to fill in with a few rings of the corners of that flap on the bottom. Yeah, that flap had square edges befor my tweezers and I got to it... but at least the moth holes are gone now. This one was machine made by the Whitting & Davis company. They were the guys that invented the machines that are now used to make shark suits and butcher's gloves. Its all silver and the rings are very tiny, inner diameter must be around 1/16 of an inch. Out of the three chainmail purses I own this one is in the best condition.

I picked this one up at an antique show for $8. It has a few moth holes and the trim is falling off on one corner...I'll fix that someday. It seems to be made from brass but ya can't see that in the pictures because they are black & white. The rings are the same size as in the one above and the handle type thing is also of similar design so I think it was machine made but the company name 'Whitting & Davis' is not printed on the inside of the handle thing so I'm guessing that it was made by another company that started making them after the patent ran out on the Whitting & Davis machine. All that is stamped on the inside of the handles is the number 4. I really like the way they did the lower portions of this one. When its hanging up the trim is very lacy and has many folds. This is where I got the idea for my diamond pattern choker.