From the Crusades to robotic cases, the surprisingly interesting 1,000-year history of luggage

It seems ridiculous that we put a man on the Moon before anyone had the idea to add wheels to our suitcases, but until 1972, tourists were still lugging their gear around by the handle.

Indeed, it took more than 1,000 years from the time medieval soldiers were carting their weapons from castles to battlegrounds to arrive with the all-singing all-dancing ‘smart luggage’ we use today, and a recent book by American professor Susan Harlan delves into its evolution.

“The history of luggage is the history of travel,” she writes. “How we travelled, and why, and where, and what we packed.” Harlan’s book goes into great detail, of course, but the story is fairly straightforward.

Most historians agree…

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