When Luggage That Rolls Became A Big Wheel Deal

Thousands of years ago man came up with the wheel and luggage. Why it too so long for us to combine the two, we’ll never know reports StarTribune.com.

“It was one of my best ideas,” Bernard Sadow said the other day. Sadow, who owned a Massachusetts company that made luggage and coats, is credited with inventing rolling luggage 40 years ago this month.

First, the background. Sadow, now 85, had his eureka moment in 1970 as he lugged two heavy suitcases through an airport while returning from a family vacation in Aruba. Waiting at Customs, he said, he observed a worker effortlessly rolling a heavy machine on a wheeled skid.

“I said to my wife, ‘You know, that’s what we need for luggage,'” Sadow recalled. When he got back to work, he took casters off a wardrobe trunk and mounted them on a big travel suitcase. “I put a strap on the front and pulled it, and it worked,” he said.

This invention, for which he holds United States patent No. 3,653,474, “Rolling Luggage,” did not take off immediately, though.

“People do not accept change well,” Sadow said, recalling the many months he spent rolling his prototype bag on sales calls to department stores in New York and elsewhere. Finally, though, Macy’s ordered some, and the market grew quickly as Macy’s ads began promoting “the Luggage That Glides.”

Photo by Kenneth Lu

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