Travel Luggage Evolution in a Story

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Behind every essential piece in your closet or in your accessory collection is a story that counts its timeline, and that of travel luggage is definitely one that should be highlighted. Suitcases were not wheeled since the beginning of times. In fact, the 19th century witnessed the steamer trunks, which were the most commonly used form of transporting luggage. Far from being easy to maneuver, these spacious models were crafted from wood and leather, and were meant to fit in the cargo hold of ships.

In 1937, Rimowa (founded in 1898) unveiled the first aluminum trunk – which was the epitome of style in transporting luggage. However, it wasn’t the only brand that innovatively redefined the design for non-wheeled suitcases. Samsonite was actually another brand that travelers kept their eye on, stealing the spotlight in 1956 with its Ultralite suitcase made of magnesium which was considered at that time the lightest and strongest material, followed by the Saturn suitcase in 1969 crafted of propylene and supported by a molded shell, to launch in 1974 its first wheeled design.

The invention of wheeled suitcases goes back to 1972, the year rolling luggage was patented. While on his vacation in 1970, Bernard Sadow – an employee of U.S. Luggage which is now part of luggage brand Briggs & Riley – sees an employee at the airport carrying suitcases on a rolling cart, and that’s when the idea of putting a set of ball casters on the bottom of his suitcase and attaching a rope to its front as a handle came to his mind.

In 1975, Tumi entered the world of luggage and introduced by the 1980s its own take on business travel bags through models made of soft ballistic nylon, backpacks, garment bags, and softside suitcases. The journey certainly didn’t end there, as the brand Travelpro founded by pilot Bob Plath in 1987 followed the need of its founder and presented the first two-wheeled suitcase, which is not only durable and easy to maneuver, but also is supplied with an extendable handle. In 2016, brand Away took things to a whole new level and introduced stylish wheeled suitcases in bright colors featuring a built-in charging port and battery pack, as well as travel accessories such as packing cubes and toiletry bags – to name a few.

Wondering what else could the future hold? Only time will tell!

Article Written by Mirella Haddad

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