Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let's Travel Back in Time.....

above is a phenomenal photograph
"A shot of some old Vintage Luggage taken at a restored steam railway"
titled: Cargo (3) by
i've been researching vintage luggage, how it came to be, what
it's made from, what it used to be made from etc.
so here are the interesting facts i dug up......
  • Back in the 1920's and 30's, to have a set of custom-made luggage was a luxury afforded only by the rich. The concept of travel was different then too. Young men traveled the world to finish off their educations and women traveled to get some relaxation time from their hectic and straining social schedules. Most luggage was made from wooden boxes and covered in the finest leather cowhides. All trims were hand stitched and lined with silks and canvas. A good set of luggage wasn't high up on the list for the average girl during those times
  • In addition to clothes and larger items kept in huge trunks, a minimum of eight pairs of shoes were kept in shoeboxes alone. Women had a separate, usually much smaller, piece of make-up or toiletries luggage. Make-up was fairly expensive and women had to special order their shades through pharmacies and department stores so that their shipments made it several weeks before it arrived. It was not uncommon to spend several hundred dollars on specific types of luggage for all their personal needs.
  • Luggage was bought mainly by women as part of her obligation to her "man". One of the obligations of new brides, according to an article from Cosmopolitan magazine in 1935, was her responsibility at making sure that the "box room" or luggage room was well maintained by the servants. It was her responsibility to make sure that the luggage was well-taken care of - waxed, polished and cleaned inside and out.
  • The average cost of one piece of luggage during the 30's and the late 40's (before Samsonite) was about $350.00 - the current price for a shoulder bag from Louis Vuitton (which, today, is made of cardboard and canvas). Women would pay these exorbitant amounts because their luggage sets would last them a lifetime. Most of the luggage being made today is disposable within a few years of using it.
  • During World War II, most luggage manufacturers were discontinued because they moved away from the high expense of leather. In the late 40's Samsonite factories starting making camouflage for the army with industrial sewing machines until the end of the war.
  • The entire market changed when Samsonite discovered that they could use canvas for luggage, and completely took over the competition. A popular model of the 1950's was the white hatbox, used for things like gloves, scarves, and hats. It became known as the "model's hat box"-because, one supposes, every model needed to have a white Samsonite hatbox with all of the aforementioned items.
  • The idea of "keeping luggage" changed during women's liberation. Although many women in the 1950's and 60's were still carrying their mothers and grandmothers matched luggage sets, it had less to do with status than it did convenience. The world began to see fewer hard wood leather cowhide pieces of luggage, and more cardboard for "bargain prices".

    *all of the above info i got from a really awesome article
    to read the entire thing you can go here:

    well, since that was quite the list of info i won't rant on too much,
    but i find it fascinating how life evolves,
    the way things change, how we are so fast-moving these
    days, that we have massive machines
    that just spit out cheap and NOT so duarable
    luggage with zippers that break on their second pull
    and why oh why are they all black or a bad
    floral design? not all floral
    is bad but they seem to make them ugly
    on purpose with those designs!

    hope this blog finds your mind stimulated....
    does that sentence even make sense?
    oh well, i don't care
    you get my point.
    luggage upcycler out kids!

    1 piece of advice, of the musical sort:
    go listen to RYAN ADAMS song DEAR CHICAGO
    off the album DEMOLITION.
    you are welcome in advance:)

1 comment:

  1. Rachel, I have been so busy! I am just now catching up reading your blogsite...I love to read your blogs...interesting, enlightening, educational, inspiring...all of the above and more...so....!!! I especially love this one...did you know I secretly have always loved old luggage and traveling trunks? I have two old trunks...one even has the skeleton key it came with...it is wood inside, remind me to show you sometime...