The history of luggage bags is long standing with an amazing story behind it. Travel luggage or baggage consists of bags, cases and containers we all carry during our trips. Baggage sizes and shapes have evolved over the years. Most noticeably, from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. A period characterised by advances that took place in travel. In turn, these advances have influenced the design and manufacture of portable luggage. Up to this present day, we visibly see changes in the development of travel luggage.
Who would have thought the bags we now know today, the likes of Keepall, Bucket, Papillon, Alma, Locket, Noe and Speedy, were known back then by different names. Louis Vuitton’s City Bags were the most coveted and fashionable collection. City Bags were a range of women bags that dates to the early 19th century. Jean-Claude Kaufmann (2013), a writer, tells us how they were designed. Originally, the bags were designed for packing inside larger steamer trunks. They became major fashion symbols for the modern woman, the likes of the Bucket Bag.
Why The History of Luggage Bags Matters?
History is a subject that fascinates many people. Why would a person want to explore the history of travel luggage? History makes us understand our past. It also plays a central role in the manufacturing of travel luggage. Our past forms a solid foundation, from where manufacturers can launch new products.
So, when we understand the history of travel luggage, we are able to keep abreast with luggage trends. This is so important in this complex and ever-changing world we are living in these days. The history of Travel luggage industry has not been immune to change. Instead, it has evolved and gone through a series of changes worth revisiting.
The History of Luggage Bags – By Then and Now
To understand the journey the Travel Luggage industry has travelled, we need to dig deeper into its past and explore the rich contents of its treasure. By looking back where it all started, we will have a full grasp and a holistic picture of what used to exist in the ancient days.
Types of Luggage Bags
Before delving deeper, to explore the history itself, I will start off by throwing some light on the varying types of luggage. This covers suitcases, tote, bags, carpet bags, trunks, steamers and garment bags.
A trunk is a wooden box which comes in smaller sizes. The larger boxes are called steamers and are used more for storage than travel. A Tote Bag is a small bag, usually worn on the shoulders. Packing Cubes are small rectangular boxes essential for saving space when packing.
Turn of the Nineteenth Century
Surely there must be strong reasons to justify why people preferred to carry ancient forms of travel luggage, like trunks each time they travelled. Considering a trunk was cumbersome equipment to bring along a long and stressful journey.
Since the 19th century, we see an amazing transformation that occurred in Travel Luggage Bag industry. The most commonly used luggage in those days were chests or trunks. These were made from wood and other heavy material. Their heavy material made them quite handy.
A trunk was the most practical and most suitable to use for the simple reason that its durable. So, trunks were a perfect solution since they were strong enough to endure any kind of weather. It was also a perfect match to the type of transport prevalent in those old days, which were primarily steamships and coaches. Travellers had no choice and at times endured uncomfortable days in the lumbering coaches.
Just like the situation we have today, where airlines are regulating luggage weights, during the ancient times, a heavy trunk was a prerequisite for every journey.
Over the years, different types of travel luggage have come and gone. Taking a look back unfolds a series of changes that have occurred. During the old days, luggage had no wheels. People used to carry their luggage on the shoulders. Today, we see people all over the world gliding smoothly, pulling and rolling their luggage as they travel by planes, trains and coaches.
(1) Steamer Trunks 1900 – 1950
A noticeable change in travel change came in the 1990s. People used to carry Card Board Suitcases on their shoulders. In that period, there were no wheeled suitcases.
(2) The 1960s – Small wheeled trolleys
Suitcases existed in the 1960s.
(3) The 1970 invention of Rolling Suitcase
Bernard Sadow, the Vice President of a Massachusetts luggage company, made an invention of a Rolling Suitcase following his application for a patent. It was a four-wheeled suitcase that was pulled by a loose strip. Bernard Shaw said the invention was inspired by air travel.
(4) 1972 Rolling Luggage
These had two wheels and pulled in an upright way using a handle.
(5) 1987 The Rollaboard
The Roll Aboard was devised by Robert Plath, a pilot.
Rollaboard had telescopic handles and was rolled vertically at a dapper tilt.
(6) 2000 – The formation of the Travel Goods Association (TGA)
This is a trade organisation for companies that sell travel luggage including carry-on bags, computer bags and business cases, travel accessories, handbags and more.
Travel Luggage Industry in the 21st Century
After the Second World War, we see a significant shift. Travel luggage manufacturers started making lighter luggage. Just like today’s situation. We now have a complete turnaround in the travel luggage industry-products. To add, people are now travelling more frequently for business and leisure purposes unlike long back.
The new form of travel luggage is designed to keep abreast with Aviation policies. Airlines have put regulations in place and expect passengers to adhere to them. In a way, airlines are now dictating the shapes and sizes of our travel luggage.
We can see that the focus has shifted. More emphasis is now on travelling light. Making lightweight cases more essential for today’s traveller has become a priority.
Restrictions have made shoppers more sensitive to what they buy. Customers can’t afford to buy on impulse anymore and risk throwing their money down the drain. The new era is characterized by a designer travel luggage of high-level brands. What consumers are now looking for worldwide, is well-designed travel luggage. Luggage that is durable and accessible to many.
We now have a market environment where each brand is vying for customers. We also have companies that have set up purely for manufacturing fake design products. Designer Luggage is a subject I have already touched in a separate article. To read more about women design luggage Le’ts Read More…
Hand Luggage is a limited number of smaller bags that passengers are allowed to carry on board. The Air Traffic Control Group estimated that 100,000 flights are scheduled every day worldwide. It’s mind-blowing to know that this figure does not include road trips and sea travel.
Away – Cary-On Bag
The Away Bag was founded by Jen ruble and Stephanie Korey. The Away Bag is a sleek and well-designed product.
To conclude, history is inescapable. It will always remain part of us or catch up with us. Our history is not something we can easily shrug off and pretend it doesn’t exist. From the history of Travel Luggage, it all goes to show that in the old days, travel was a preserve of the rich. People only travelled when it was necessary. This is a complete contrast to what travel has evolved to be today. In fact, the invention of the Rolling Luggage encourages people to take more than they need.
I envy those who still have their old travel cases or trunks because they have become lucrative antiques. When you have such antiques, you can easily fetch yourself $2,000 at an auction like eBay. Door-to-dooris now the trendy and alternative way of carrying and checking bags.
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