Thursday 30 January 2014

The History of the Suitcase

The word "Luggage" dates back to 1596 and refers to "what has to be lugged about".  

The French term "valise" dates back to the 1600's and refers to a travelling back or soldier's kit.  The Louis Vuitton, designer luggage, first appeared in 1854.  

Carpet bags, made of patches of oriental carpet, were used by Southerners after the American Civil War, hence the term carpetbagger.  

In 1870, steamer trunks were first used by passengers making trans-Atlantic passage.  Dr. Barnardo issued a trunk to each of the British Home Children in his care who immigrated to Canada.  

The hat box suitcase was popular when women wore hats.

In 1910, the Samsonite suitcase first appeared, known for its strong exterior after Samson in the Bible. 


The duffel bag, named after the town where the material came from, Duffel, Belgium, was first used by ex-Navy personnel in the 1940's and 1950's.  

In 1972, the patent for wheeled luggage was filed, a phenomenon that is in widespread use today. 



  1. Hi Linda,

    I’m Heather - I know you don’t know me so apologies for this unsolicited email! I work on behalf of a company called Case Luggage and I wanted to get in touch with you because I've just finished an interactive timeline for them called the Era of Luggage, which I think might be of interest to you (honestly - it’s better than it it might initially sound!). You'd probably best check it out to make sure I'm not being biased ;)

    The timeline starts at 1153AD with the earliest form of wheeled luggage and continues all the way to 2020.

    I’d love to hear what you think about it, and whether there are any momentous moments in luggage history which you think we’ve missed:

    Do you think it would be of interest to your readers?

    Trust today is treating you well,


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