October 1970 was a special month for the luggage industry, and for the parent company of Briggs And Riley – it was the month they released the world’s first rolling suitcase.
The original design (pictured above) featured four wheels and a piece of rope to pull it along, but for the first time, it meant not having to carry your heave cases through the airport.
The bag was designed by U.S. Luggage president Bernard Sadow, who got his inspiration when he returned from a vacation in Aruba with a bunch of heavy bags. Of course, the four wheeled rope pulled bags of the past are relics of air travel history, and the current generation wheeled bags from Briggs And Riley don’t look anything like the old ones.
Like many innovative products, the road from idea to store shelves was not an easy one – when Sadow took his new bag to buyers at the major department stores, none of them were interested. Macy’s and Gimbels both showed him the door.
Thankfully, a vice president at Macy’s wasn’t so short sighted, and instructed his buyers to place orders – making Macy’s the first store in the world to sell the first rolling luggage in the world. And the rest is history.