Skift Originals

Infographic: A trip through time to explore the evolution of modern-day luggage

Skift Take

Despite the similarities in the basic design of suitcases over the years, new concepts for bags that can follow behind travelers and suitcases that turn into scooters suggests that the evolution isn’t slowing any time soon.

— Samantha Shankman

Luggage gets a bad rap these days. Travelers are constantly complaining about airline baggage fees and trying to find the largest bag that will fit in the overhead bin without getting stuck. Bags can either be found for quite cheap or outrageously expensive depending on the brand and the material.

The luggage that we use today actually comes from quite humble beginnings made from cowhide and used to carry weapons. Here are four of the most surprising facts about the history of luggage and how it became the plastic, fluorescent purple packing case it is today:

  • The first wheeled luggage appeared in 1153 in Palestine where Crusaders used the case to carry weapons.
  • Wheeled luggage was later considered to make a man less masculine in the early 1900s
  • Louis Vuitton made his luggage design debut in the 1870s with a flat top trunk that was high functional as it stacked easily on ships.
  • The popular luggage company Samsonite launched in 1910 with the tagline, “Strong Enough to Stand on.”

For a more thorough look at the evolution of luggage:

The Evolution of Luggage
Infographic via


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