A Brief History of Wheeled Suitcases

Many things in life take a long time to evolve and find their trajectories and purpose. Such is the case with wheels.


The first wheel was thought to have been invented between 4000 and 3500 B.C.E. somewhere in Mesopotamia (now called Iraq). But it was used for pottery. A round, flat object was placed on its side. The pottery maker would spin the wheel on its axle to shape the clay into objects like pots. The Sumerians (those who live in southern Mesopotamia) realized they could use these wheels for something else, namely transportation. The wheel as we know it began its path, but it would take some millennia later for it to be installed on a suitcase.


Related: Discover wheeled bags from Prima USA Travel


Modern pottery maker in Kala Ghoda, Mumbai, India. Photo by Shayne Inc Photography/Unsplash.

In 1972, an American named Bernard Sadow patented the rolling luggage. Sadow later started a luggage company that became known as Briggs & Riley Travelware. But the early wheeled suitcases were wobbly and unstable and two years later, in 1974, Sadow's competitors grouped together and broke the patent. Thus the market for wheeled luggage was opened.