History of Luggage

           It doesn’t matter whether people are traveling at work or on vacation, one of the indispensable things of every travel is luggage. The best type of luggage bag is the one that can accommodate a lot of luggage and easy to carry with one side and one that is strong enough on the other. Luggage bags were not always as we know them today, they are changed and developed over the time in history up to this day and still doing it …

Chronological view of  luggage history

1153 – Although it all began during the Roman Empire, if we look chronologically the first recorded concept of baggage was in Palestine, during the Crusades, like wheeled luggage. Knights Templar dragged him in the form of weaponry carts. These carts contained heavy weaponry items, repair items, skull mending tools etc.

1596 – The term ‘luggage’ was officially coined and introduced into the Oxford English Dictionary. It was created from the word ‘lug’(v.) “to drag” and literally means “that which needs to be lugged about”.

1800 – Suitcase as we know today started to take his shape. That suitcase like a modern day suitcase was born to facilitate travel and protect the possessions of travelers, safe and clean while traveling. Initially, they were made of cow leather put on wooden frames. But the material and the manufacturing method continued to develop constantly, until the present day.

1848 – Rolling baggage is re-surfaced when the Maharani of Nadir used a wheeled carryall pulled by an elephant to reach a reception. An attending British Colonel immediately recognized the potential of such a contraption and he drew a sketch and applied to London for a patent. Sadly the colonel’s patent application was lost and the invention granted to Prince Albert and he was awarded three gold medals for it, which is more appealing named: the “Travelling Carryall, Omni-Conveyance, Bewheeled”.

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1854 – French businessman, Louis Vuitton founded the French fashion house renowned for its luggage. He designer trunks that had flat tops instead rounded and therefore could be easily stacked on top of each other during transportation.

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1870s -Steamships were the predominant mode of long distance travel and luggage was designed with this in mind, because the conditions in steamships were not the best for luggage. Bags placed in the hold of a ship would often be subjected to damp and leaky conditions which could lead to leakage of moisture into the bags. In addition to this, the luggage would slide around in rough conditions and if the trunks weren’t tough enough, they would be crushed easily. Luggage designs of those days were therefore built of wood and leather with a heavy iron base. The best and highest quality makes were waterproofed.





1872 – In France, Simon Tissot Dupont, started his luggage and leather goods workshop. He was producing a steady stream of products to the highest social circles of the time, which included the people like Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie who were among his first customers.


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1886 – Tumbler lock patented. Georges Vuitton, Louis Vuitton’s son invented an unpickable tumbler lock to prevent the trunks being broken into. Each lock had its own serial number and a single key for all pieces of luggage of an individual. This guarantees the safety of the trunks.






1892 – Famous ‘Kelly’ Bag, designed by Hermès and redesigned by popular actress Grace Kelly, after which it was named.

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1896 – Georges Vuitton launched worldwide famous Louis Vuitton’s signature monogram and issued patents on it.




1910 – Founded in Denver, Colorado by Jesse Shwayder, The Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing named one of his initial cases Samson, after the Biblical strongman. They didn’t use the trademark Samsonite until 1941.The company changed its name to Samsonite in 1966, when they become language leader.

1920 – Era of the Automobile. A suitcase revolution came about with the appearance of the automobile. Automobiles enabled easy transportation of belongings in their trunk. There was no need for heavy old fashioned suitcases and soon they became unnecessary. Indeed light weight and cheaper suitcases or bags become popular. Therefore, protective, leather, wood and steel suitcases, gave way to cardboard and plastic cases.

1923 – World’s oldest luggage store Revelation Piccadilly was established, at the address 170 Piccadilly, London.

1946 – Emile Delahaye and the Seynhaeve brothers, founded Delsey brand.

1947 – Inspired by the famous customer, Humphrey Bogart, S.T. Dupont created a new collection “Bogie Bag”.

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1950 – Along with, the expansion of air travel, lightweight and convenient luggage started replacing strong, sturdy and waterproof luggage. Luggage design gave way to features enhancing convenience, zips replaced clasps and wheels and pullies also became ordinary features in luggage design. Travelers now carried their own cases and the old fashioned porters and heavy suitcase became a thing of the past

In this era, suitcase evolved beyond carrying only clothes. Suitcases started to carry items like shoes, wine, camera etc.

1952 – Mario Briccola Founds “Industria Valigeria Fine”, the company which would later to be named BRIC’S.

1958 – Wheeled Luggage False Starts. D. Dudley Bloom proposed that the then named Atlantic Products Corporation should manufacture travel luggage which could be pulled on wheels. The company rejected the idea, calling it “impractical” and Bloom’s innovative idea did end.

1970 – Bernard Sadow finally invented the wheeled suitcase and he was granted the patent for ‘Rolling Luggage’.

1975 – US luggage manufacturer Tumi is founded by Charlie Clifford, named after a Peruvian god.

1984 – Hermès Birkin bag, named after actress and singer Jane Birkin, made after her complain that she was not able to find an elegant, roomy bag that she liked.

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1987 – Luggage brand Kipling’s, named by the author and explorer Rudyard Kipling. The brand was originally founded in Antwerp, Belgium and they become recognized by the monkey keyring which is the brand’s emblem.

1989 -‘The Rollaboard’ rolling suitcases as we know them today, was invented by Robert Plath. He launched its production with the company TravelPro.

1993 – The towing handle was invented by Don Ku from New York. He earns a patent for a “Wheeled Suitcase of Luggage Support with Collapsible Towing Handle”; assigned to Liberty Leather Products Co. Inc. (Brooklyn, NY).

               Despite the fact that the evolution of baggage continues, it can be said that the period of recent history is the subject of another story, which can be called “era of the modern luggage”. So for now, we’ll stop here and allow time to pass. Just so that we one day, in the future and for this period of time, we can say that it belongs to the history of luggage.

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