|Travellers set of 3. Cargo|
|Euro Suitcases by Cargo|
|Road suitcase by Cargo|
Light-weight luggage was really a 20th century phenomenon, as prior to WW2, extensive travel used to commonly involve lugging around heavy trunks and chests or metal or wooden-framed suitcases with thick cowhide covers. As at that time, travel was a luxury for the well-to-do, it became vogueish to plaster your luggage with colourful tourist labels from all the destinations you'd been fortunate enough to have travelled to.
Early 20th century suitcases were often made out of wool, linen or leather. They were pretty basic - a rectangle with a handle at the top and could be awkward to carry around. The addition of wheels and extended handles made life easier for travellers.
|Imax Antique Ivory luggage|
|Reproduction vintage leather suitcase. Quickway Imports|
Post-war, leather covered plywood veneer and all vinyl cases began to appear on the scene. More breakthroughs followed with the invention of the molded plastic suitcases, which were super-light and cheap. When American Luggage Works produced the hard-sided American Tourister case in 1954, they claimed it was virtually indestructible:
All Cases available from the Amazon Nostalgia Shop
When the company started to receive reports of American Tourister luggage surviving incredible accidents, Koffler used them in advertisements to promote the luggage's durability. One true-life account reported that an American Tourister suitcase fell off a car traveling 60 miles per hour and was run over by another car. Other than a few scuff marks on the outer surface, the case was undamaged. ~ American Tourister
Reproduction vintage wooden cases. Delux
|Hot pink vintage-look luggage set. Dea|
|Louis Vuitton Lugggage ad circa 1898|
|Vintage Art Deco Louis Vuitton poster featuring an ocean liner drawn like a steamer trunk|
|Louis Vuitton steamer trunk|
These were like a mini wardrobe, designed to stand up on one end. They had compartments, hangers and drawers and plenty of room for all the little extras a well-dressed man or woman might require on their travels and of course, there was plenty of cheap labour available to carry them around for the owner.
Although trunks had been used for travelling for thousands of years, the popular 'steamer trunk' style date from the late 1800s to the early 20th century. Of course when air travel became a viable means of transport these cumbersome travel trunks, which were generally made of wood or other heavy materials were an impossibility. Even before planes, the production of lighter and cheaper luggage sets were making trunks redundant.
|A travelling wardrobe|
|19th century hat trunk|
|Fabulous 'dome-top' trunks dating from the late 1800s|