Luggage: A brief history

Luggage, often referred to as “baggage” or “suitcases” is a term coined in 1596, from lug (v.) “to drag;” so, lit. “what has to be lugged about” (or, in Johnson’s definition, “any thing of more bulk than value”). In 20c., the usual word for “baggage belonging to passengers.”

For more than six hundred years, people have used traveling cases, steamer trunks valises, portmanteaus, briefcases, weekenders and the now ubiquitous rolling case to get their goods from point A to point B.

As lover of history, I’ve always been fascinated by luggage – many homes in my native DC have strange small “bedrooms,” (which can’t be referred to as such because they lack windows and closets) that were once housing for the owner’s trunks. I took a steamer trunk to college, only to find that it didn’t even come close to fitting in my shoebox of a dorm room. My greatest desire? A vintage Louis Vuitton case – and an appropriate wardrobe (and private jet ) to carry it.

So for this edition of “The Way We Traveled,” check out this brief timeline of luggage factoids:

1153 – The first wheeled luggage appears in Palestine and was used to carry weaponry and equipment.

1851 – Queen Victoria awards Prince Albert three gold medals for his Travelling Carry-All Omni-Conveyance, Bewheele.

1854 – Louis Vuitton as we know it was born, initially specializing in luggage.

1910 – Samsonite launches.

1970 – Briggs & Riley introduces modern “wheeled” luggage, offering four wheels and a rope tow.

1972 – U.S. Luggage patents wheeled luggage.

1989 – A Northwest Airlines pilot becomes the first person to carry wheeled luggage

1994 – Don Ku was granted a patent for wheeled suitcase with a collapsible towing handle.

2006 – A ban on liquids over 3 oz. in carry-on luggage is announced.

Late 2000s – Airlines begin charging bag fees for checked luggage on domestic flights.

2013 – The date when the proposed ban on liquids in carry on luggage will be reversed in the EU.

*This article was updated to reflect additional information about wheeled luggage on March 2, 2011.

Daily deal – Samsonite Sammies kids luggage up to 69% off

In my daily deal for this chilly Saturday, you’ll find an assortment of Samsonite kid friendly luggage on clearance. The Sammies lineup includes rolling bags, backpacks, messenger bags and a duffel bag.

Each bag is designed to look like a different animal, so your little ones will probably love dragging it through the airport. The largest bag weighs just 4lbs (the rolling suitcase), so even children as young as 4 years old won’t have a problem pulling it, as long as they don’t pack it too full of junk!

The bags usually retail for between $70 and $150, but LuggageOnline has them on sale for about 60% off, plus an additional 10% discount. Shipping is around $8. The extra 10% discount ends tonight, Saturday the 17th at 11:59EST.

The bags don’t just look cool, they are actually quite well designed, and should hold everything a kid needs to stay entertained on their next trip. Be sure to check out the reviews from previous customers on the site, as all pieces seem to come quite highly rated. Since the bags are Samsonite, you’ll get their 3 year warranty.

Horchow baggage sale

Horchow is currently having a 20% off sale on all luggage and accessories. Impressing your family and friends at the holidays just got one-fifth easier.

You may have already heard about this season’s fabulous new Samsonite Blacklabel Trunk Collection, pictured, with which I’m personally kind of obsessed. The 1920’s trans-Atlantic inspired look of the trunks make me feel like I’m in a slightly more anachronistic Titanic. But in a good way. Wait, is there a good way? “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets.”

In any case (haha), the must-have collection is included in the sale.

The bad news is that a lot of this stuff is back-ordered and won’t ship out until November 21st, but it still might get to you in time for Thanksgiving, and definitely in time for the major holidays.

Don’t want to be in Titanic? Did you cheer when Jack let go? Then I recommend this set of “Safari” Croc-Embossed Leather Luggage from Bric’s. Chic, classic, and some of these items aren’t even sold out. Bonus!