The journey begins
At the turn of the 20th century, in 1891, two enterprising brothers, Henry and Aaron Belber, scraped together $200 and started handcrafting luggage from their basement in South Philadelphia.
No strangers to travel, the brothers had immigrated from Romania with their parents, traveling via Hamburg and Glasgow on the British ship Cumberland. Needless to say, the spirit of adventure was already in their blood.
“As Modern as Tomorrow.”
In 1903, they opened their first factory, selling travel accessories and baggage that were functional yet stylish, elegant without being extravagant. In line with their motto “As Modern as Tomorrow”, they used the latest in zephyr light fabrics, quality leather and hardware, and state-of-the-art locking systems.
A new luggage consciousness
The Belber brothers were determined to revolutionize the idea of the journey, developing a “luggage consciousness” to prove to customers that the bag was just as important as what went inside it. And it worked.
People wanted to look good when they traveled and a Belber bag did just the trick.
A suitcase became more than just a carrier, it became an expression of individualism, of adventure. And it didn’t break the bank.
“Before Belber only the very rich could afford to travel in style, but the brothers from Philadelphia changed that.”
Philadelphia - The United States of Style
The “workshop of the world,” Philadelphia was famous for its dynamic production of luxury goods and famous trendsetting department stores such as Wanamaker’s and Strawbridge & Clothier.
The city was teeming with immigrants from around the world, carving out their place in America.
“This was the creative, energetic atmosphere that the Belber brothers prospered in.”
Brothers of invention
“The Belber brothers were keen innovators”
The Belber brothers were keen innovators and created many state-of-the-art locking devices including its Belber Safe Lock, and the Belber Curtain Follower, that firmly held clothing in a steamer trunk.
Belber was also the first brand to create matching luggage, understanding form as much as function.
The Original Mad Men
Early precursors to the heyday of Madison Avenue, the Belber advertisements were just as much about the American dream of social mobility as they were about how to live and dress well.
Belber ads were beautifully written, inspirational and aspirational, and brought life to the idea of travel and doing it dressed well.
“Will you buy a Belber or simply a bag or suitcase? Even an expert may be deceived by appearance?”
The Belber brothers also helped invent the concept of product tie-ins and product placement, partnering with Hollywood celebrities such as Ray Milland and Alan Ladd who advertised their products in travel-related movies.
The spirit of adventure lives on, perfect for the sensibilities of today’s modern traveler.
21st century Belber is still imbued with the freshness and independent spirit that it had when it first began in a Philadelphia basement.
Inspired by its beautiful heritage.
The brand’s new collection features a unisex range of leather bags and small leather goods as well as a more casual line in canvas, making Belber the perfect companion for the discerning urban traveller.