How Suitcases Have Changed

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Where did the suitcase come from?

How Suitcases Have Changed Tip: In the mid-19th century, rail travel became possible, and the tourism industry was born. Travelers in those days were usually well-to-do people with heavy luggage, which was transported by servants. The traveling trunk of the early rail days was soon replaced by the "steamer trunk," which went aboard the new ocean liners that began to flourish as 1900 came and went. In these days, a "suitcase" was a male accessory, used for short journeys or by business travelers.

Duffel bags first came into common use in World War I, when they were issued to U.S. soldiers to carry their belongings. In the 1920s and 1930s, manufacturers found cheaper ways to make luggage, including cardboard suitcases. Reductions in the size of women's clothing over the first few decades of the 20th century made it possible for women as well as men to travel with a standard-sized suitcase -- if they wanted to.

After World War II, luggage makers benefited from innovations such as nylon, zippers, plastics and aluminum. Luggage with a modern look became all the rage for the new air travel industry. Manufacturers learned to design products suitable for plane travel, which required a lightweight yet durable suitcase style.

In the last few decades, luggage has become increasingly lightweight, affordable and varied, with a huge range of colors, fabrics and features.



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