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How the bulky wardrobe trunk became a smart trolley case

woman holding an old suitcase

Early on, travellers proudly displayed their baggage - in the 19th century, there were patches and stickers from the hotels visited that testified to how sophisticated and widely travelled the owner of the suitcase was. And nowadays, one can speak of a real cult: items of baggage are staged and displayed on Instagram like stars. The history of the suitcase is full of surprises …

stacked old suitcases

Where have I come from, where am I going, and why does my suitcase know the answer?

Hat boxes, huge wardrobe trunks, heavy chests - in the 19th century every journey was a small, temporary relocation that required a lot of muscle power. But the world traveller was not lugging his own bags around, that was done by porters. The bulky items were made of linen, wood, cardboard and leather and were therefore neither shockproof nor weatherproof.

stacked old suitcases
woman of the fifties carrying two suitcases

The trend towards lightening up

In 1950 the highest priority was: luggage just has to be light. After all, by this time you had to lug it around yourself, unless you were travelling as a Hollywood movie star with a big entourage or were rich enough to have everything carried for you by your employees in the rear.

woman of the fifties carrying two suitcases

Travel revolution: Roll it don't drag it!

In the 70s, the wheel was quite literally reinvented: the wheeled suitcase took the market by storm, and with it, its two typical sounds moved into the cities; it was either rrrrr or click clack, click clack, depending upon the surface. The simple idea behind the wheeled suitcase: a symbiosis between the conventional luggage trolley and a suitcase. In the 90s, the model was finally supplemented with a pull-out handle.

The 2000s revolutionised the suitcase market with a new material: polycarbonate, thanks to which it was finally possible to offer lighter, unbreakable cases at affordable prices even in the hard shell segment, and it continues to be the material of choice today.

product image black trolley with cell phone charging function

The travelling companion of today

Already standard for a long time now: ultra-heavy-duty suitcases with four obligatory 360° wheels and pull-out handles, with packing facilitated by pre-configured compartments, and equipped with travel adapters and a charging battery for smartphones. The trend is towards even greater stability, as well as enhanced impact and scratch resistance. The latest innovation: the Samsonite hard-shell case made of Curv material that you can find in the Lufthansa WorldShop.

product image black trolley with cell phone charging function

A vision of the future – call it instead of pulling it?

The suitcase that follows its owner, either independently or on command, drives after him or her, or maybe one day even flies. That hardly weighs anything anymore, that's smart, with all kinds of additional functions that one could scarcely dream of today. No matter what awaits us in the way of suitcases in the future: we’ll be keeping you up to date!


You will always find the latest models in the Lufthansa WorldShop.