Wheeled luggage: Brilliant idea. But who invented it?

wheeled luggage

The folks at Briggs & Riley have declared October to be the 40th anniversary of their invention of wheeled luggage.

“The first wheeled bag was the brainchild of Briggs & Riley’s parent company U.S. Luggage and then-president Bernard Sadow. When returning from Aruba with his wife and their two heavy suitcases, he noticed a skid nearby, and made an inspired connection, turning to his wife and saying, “That’s what luggage needs: wheels.”

“…U.S. Luggage filed for and won a patent on the now lucrative innovation in 1972, which was later defeated by other companies who now can put wheels on their luggage.

But there are other people who claim they invented wheeled luggage.

Bob Plath, a Northwest Airlines pilot who started the Travelpro company, claimed he invented the first rolling luggage as well. In 1989.

But wait a minute; according to this Wikipedia entry about D. Dudley Bloom, the man who invented the first “magic” milk bottle for dolls (a truly wonderful invention!) also came up with the idea of luggage built on wheels.

“…. Bloom was director of product development at Atlantic Luggage Company in Trenton, New Jersey. In 1958, he might have made his most profound contribution to consumer products had the chairman of the company’s board only shared his insight. Approaching the chairman with a full-scale model of his proposed product, Bloom showed Atlantic how it could put its luggage on a platform with casters and a handle. “Who’d want to put luggage on wheels?” the chairman scoffed. Although on one occasion, Christmas, 1949, Bloomingdale’s had sold a novelty device that attached to luggage so that it could be wheeled, and camp trunks had been manufactured on wheels since the latter part of the 19th century, inexplicably, no one before Bloom had ever built ordinary luggage on a wheeled platform. …”

I suspect if we dug deeper we’d find reference to other people who claimed to have ‘invented’ wheeled luggage much earlier, but let’s just be thankful there IS wheeled luggage.

Because there are so many places we need to take our bags.

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2 thoughts on “Wheeled luggage: Brilliant idea. But who invented it?

  1. I agree, wheeled luggage is the best invention ever. The only downside is my other half packs her suitcase so heavy because it has wheels, it is hard to carry up stairs and yours truly has to then lug two suitcases up the stairs.


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