Luggage lore

At the Cottage we have all sorts of items once used for travel and/or storage, from steamer trunks to fancy chests. The long history of how these items evolved and gained popularity is as interesting as the actual pieces…

The Knights Templar were the first to make use of wheeled cases to transport armor and other items as early as 1153 during the Crusades. By 1596, the Oxford English dictionary added the word “luggage” to its tomes. The word meant “denoting inconveniently heavy baggage” and came from the verb “lug.”









Louis Vuitton, a young Parisian trunk-maker helped create one of the most recognizable luxury brands in the world, the slatted trunk that became ubiquitous with train travel of the 19th century.









What we now consider the “suitcase” was invented at the turn of the 20th century, and it was intended as a lightweight, compact carrier designed to transport a dress-suit without wrinkling it.

Across the ocean from Vuitton’s workshop, businessman Jesse Shwayder returned from New York to his hometown in Colorado to start a small business with his brothers in the early 1900s. The brothers opened shop in 1910 manufacturing trunks as the Shwayder Brothers. That company would become known as Samsonite.












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