A personal luggage history

Fox News posted an article this week about the history of luggage. I thought it was fascinating—it covered steam trunks to boxy suitcases to the upright rollaboards of today. After I read it, I took a look around my house. You may not know this, but I love old stuff. Like, love. We live in a mid-century house filled with vintage and antique furniture. We love picking through antique and vintage stores, and when we remodeled our living room and kitchen we went to the nearby antique mall to furnish it.

So reading this article really resonated with me, because I see exactly the things they’re talking about in my house. Exhibit A: the Grandma's trunksteamer trunk. My grandmother used this trunk back in the 40s when she came to the US from Norway to marry my grandfather. It’s kind of crazy to think that she picked up and moved halfway across the globe, and was able to fit everything she needed for her new life in this trunk. It wasn’t new to her, though. She actually got it from her grandmother, who used it to travel during the late 19th century. So it’s been in my family for over a hundred years, used by generations of women to travel. It’s not practical to travel with now—and I certainly don’t need that much room to pack—so we use it to store linens.train cases

In addition to the trunk, I also have a collection of train cases. I found the blue one in a thrift store in Chicago on a trip to visit my sister while I was in college. I got it and its larger-sized mate (pictured in my blog header) for $2.75. Every time I see I remember that fun trip, and think about how awesome my sisters are. The white one belonged to my grandmother, and the green one was used as a card holder at my wedding.

suitcase handle

And finally, of course, we have the modern rollaboard. These bags are definitely a symbol of my professional (and personal) life for the last ten years, but I certainly don’t expect my children to hold on to my beat up Ogio or my newer Victorinox. The suitcases have been great to me but they’re not really meaningful (or all that pretty).

Readers, do you have any old luggage hanging around? Got any good stories to go along with it? Post your stories here, or email me your pictures at roadwarriorette@gmail.com and I’ll post them.

Have a travel question or suggestion? Send it to RoadWarriorette @ gmail.com.

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  1. I have an old pink Pan Am soft-side “carry on” (there is no way it would be counted as such today) in my attic. My parents bought it for me when I was 11 for our family trip to Hawaii. Since then, it’s gone on family vacations, off to college with me, and on a bunch of trips. Now that it’s technically too big to be a carry on, and since airlines charge for checked bags, it pretty much just hangs out in the attic protecting other items from dust.

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