Up for auction is the holy grail of camping/ hiking equipment in this patented in 1882 Duluth "Poirier Pack Sack" Backpack Rucksack Bag. (Actual Date on this Camille Poirier Strap Pack is "PAT'D NOV. 10. 1882.") The application for the "Pack Strap" at the US Patent Office was filed on October 11, 1882. Handmade in Duluth, Minnesota by Camille Poirier himself, who pioneered the company (today known as Duluth Pack, Duluth-MN). A lot of history is attached to this item so please sit back and enjoy.
October 11, 1882 - Camille Poirier, himself applied/filed for the patent.
November 10, 1882 - On the metal plate on this Prototype Strap Pack, in this auction.
December 12, 1882 - Actual Letter of Official Patent.
Duluth Pack has its deep historic roots in a poor French-Canadian named Camille Poirier. Poirier came to the struggling village of Duluth in 1870 with very little more than a dream of making boots and shoes. In fact, according to many sources, he came into the village with a "little stock of leather and tools", and that's where he began a small shoe store in 1884 (the bag basically being invented pre-shop). The intent of the bag at the time was to carry large loads up and down the vast hills of Duluth, MN without putting total strain on the back (his invention of the tumpline is best known on this bag which now has universal appeal in the hiking and climbing community).
This bag was made before Poirier even had his boot and shoe shop located at 1 (ONE) west Superior Street, Norris Block, built in 1884. Camille Poirier's shoe shop was one of the four buildings on the upper side of Superior Street, west of Lake Avenue, making up the oldest section of Old Downtown Duluth, all built in the 1880's. This is where Poirier patented and invented the "Poirier Pack Sack". The significance of this pack is the date on the handtooled handmade brass oval plate of Nov. 10, 1882, which was handmade by Camille Poirier himself, basically a prototype strap pack before his actual patent date - on Dec. 12 1882. The actual patent was granted in Duluth, Minnesota on Dec. 12, 1882. The bag itself was a success and led Poirier to invent and to file a patent on December 12, 1882 for a "Pack Strap" that entirely changed the design of pack sacks. The Patent No. is 268,932. The patent is actually in with my pictures.
According to the patent filed by Camille Poirier (No 268,932 and is included with my pictures above), he "invented a new and improved Pack-Strap for holding and packing articles of clothing, provisions, and other articles which are to be carried in a package on the back. The invention consists in a bag formed with a flap and provided with shoulder straps and head-strap for supporting and carrying the bag on the back."
In this bag's amazing design, Poirier was credited with the "tumpline" which is a strap attached at both ends to a backpack and used to carry the object by placing the strap over the top of the head. Later on Poirier's design came to be called the "Duluth Pack" after the village in which Poirier ran his business.
The "Pack Strap" was a canvas sack that closed with a buckled flap, had new-fangled shoulder straps in addition to the traditional tumpline. In 1911, Camille sold off the pack business to the new Duluth Tent and Awning Company. At the time of this listing, Duluth Pack Company was contacted and a representative of the company said the earliest Pack they had was received by donation from an Australian and this was the Auto (Car) Pack. That pack was dated in the 1920's and the "Pack Strap" up for auction is many years older than that as you can see. There are no known "Poirier Pack Strap Sacks" left in existence so this is a TRULY ORIGINAL and a one-of-a-kind RARE item. It is believe this bag is the original patent design prototype because of the three stitch marks above the patent date where the umbrella leather loop would sit. The bags that Poirier sold in his store were stamped in ink "Poirier Duluth Back Strap" in this location on the front flap.
The Pack Strap listed is in good usable condition if one really wanted to use and wear a piece of history like this. This PACK is usable, just as durable as the day POIRIER handmade it. This is why the pack is very ORIGINAL and expensive, because it's a piece of North Shore history, Gitchi Gummi BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) TRAIL! Because of how rare the bag is and its contributions to the camping and hiking world, I am selling the bag AS IS. The dimensions are: 28 inches wide by 28 inches tall. All straps and buckles work and are functional.
More information on tumplines. They are often used to transport heavy loads across uneven terrain such as footpaths and portages. The Voyageurs of the North American fur trade used tumplines exclusively to carry their cargo of pelts and rations across portages. Tumplines should not be worn over the forehead, but rather the top of the head just back from the hairline, pulling straight down in alignment with the spine. The person then leans forward, allowing the back to help support the load. A Tumpline is a strap attached at both ends to a backpack or other luggage and used to carry the object by placing the strap over the top of the head.
Thanks to everyone that commented and have wrote me that this bag should be offered to a museum for historical purposes and for the contribution to the city of Duluth. I have contacted both the Historical Society of Duluth and MHS and they would like to exhibit the piece. Even though I would like nothing more than to donate this amazing piece (for which, I am also an avid camping and hiking enthusiast), they are offering no compensation for this family heirloom in a special time of need.