First wallet introduced in the 17th century
Wallets were produced after the introduction of paper currency to the West in the 1600s. Prior to the presentation of paper currency, coin satchels (typically basic drawstring leather pouches) were utilized for putting away coins. Early wallets were made essentially of cow or horse leather.
First credit card was introduced in the 1950s
The Diners Club Card claims the title of the first credit card in widespread use. Image taken from http://fifties1950s.com/1950gadgets.htm .
With the introduction of credit cards, bi-fold wallets were designed with multiple card slots and these style of wallets became a standard design. Our fathers definitely owned one of these wallets during their time!
Wallets were used to carry meat
In addition to money, a wallet was also used to carry dried meat, treasures and "things not to be exposed."
Luckily for us living in the 21st century, we don't have to carry dried meat in our pockets. We are blessed to have bags for those things.
It was uncivilized to carry your wallet in your pocket
Interestingly, carrying a wallet in your pocket is considered uncivilized and uncommon in the 19th century! Back in those time, wallets were carried on one's belt.
Generally, wallets used in Europe are larger than in US
Some wallets are generally larger than others because of the currency used in different countries. Wallets used in Europe are typically equipped with a coin compartment as coins are still being used very frequently.
This is an excuse for you to get a new wallet for the next time you travel!
Innovations on wallets
As we progress, our needs evolved. We no longer have to carry dozens of cards (or meat) with us as most of our cards these days has more than one function; Your transport card can also be your credit card, you don't carry so many membership cards as most of the shops are already offering digital memberships or just require you to verify your ID.
Innovations on the design of wallets include using different materials to make things like velcro-closure wallets and wallets made with fabric, wood and even metal. Additionally, with the emphasis on security, some wallets integrates RFID protection to prevent credit card and identity thefts.
As a result, wallets of the 21st century are generally smaller, slimmer and better which many call them the slim wallet.
So, are you carrying a 21st century wallet or a 20th century one?