Historical information

Pyott's Ltd., was an merchant and novelty shop in Vancouver, Canada during the early-20th century. An advertisement for the shop was published on February 9, 1922 in the Ubyssey News (issued Weekly by the Publications Board of the University of British Columbia. It reads:
'We carry one of the largest lines of Indian Burnt Leather Goods, Moccasins and Baskets in the city; also Beads, Purses and Hand Bags; View Books, Post Cards and Novelties of all kinds. Your inspection invited, 524 Granville St. Vancouver B.C'.

History of shopping bags:

Before the late 1800s, shopping bags didn’t exist. Shoppers would either carry their goods home in baskets, or have the merchant deliver them to people's homes, until 1852 when Francis Wolle, a schoolteacher in Pennsylvania, invented a machine to produce paper shopping bags. This invention would allow customers to carry items home in disposable paper bags. Soon after, owners of department stores and retailers began to realise that paper shopping bags could be used to help market their brands, and as such custom shopping bags with printed logos became common place. Carrying a shopping bag from certain shops became a type of status symbol for consumers, providing evidence that one was well-off, had good taste, or both.


The paper shopping bag is a rare survival of ephemera related to a retail store that existed in Vancouver, Canada during the early-20th century. The arrival of waves of more than ten million migrants by boat is one of the major themes in Australia’s history. The paper shopping bag is representative of personal items purchased for migrant journeys as markers of domesticity, warmth and making oneself at home in a new land that speaks of the transnational lives embedded in threads of migration.

Physical description

A brown paper shopping bag with a printed logo and store information in black ink

Inscriptions & markings

Pyott's, Indian Souvenirs & Novelies. 524 Granville St, Vancouver- B.C. On the reverse side in handwriting: 'Red + dark red beads