I love knowing the history and story behind things. But a few months ago I came across a vintage luggage label that I just liked, it was cool. I thought it would make a fun gift tag. After researching the story behind the luggage tag I like it even more.
The history of vintage luggage is closely related to the history of travel, and also the history of hotels.
Luggage labels are from what is considered the golden age of travel, roughly the 1900s – 1950s. Labels existed prior to that, but they didn’t have the same look or use. They are actually stickers used to advertise the hotels. Hotel bellhops and other airline luggage handlers would apply these stickers to passenger trunks and suitcases. Today, they are highly collectible, especially those designed by certain artists.
Many examples of vintage luggage bear witness to their travels, rather like a passport bears stamps and visas of exotic locations. With vintage luggage, a story can be gleaned, detective like, from the applied and attached history of its adventure labels.
The exotic and colourful applied labels for travel, destination and hotel can be a fascinating feature of a vintage case, individual cases bearing testament to the exotic travels, from Marrakesh to Moscow, Berlin to Bermuda. These paper labels were used as a means of identifying the luggage's destination and also a quiet means of advertising the hotel or holiday destination. Collectible in their own right, the labels are an example of the ephemera of the great age of travel, and the romanticism of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
I've read that the placement of these labels told the porters just how good well you tipped.
Loving this history for artwork. How cool to collect these from places you've been or dream to be. As Dr. Seuss says "Oh The Places We Will Go."
Image and Content Sources: Antique News, Ballard Designs, Innovations in Newspapers, Ebay, Web Expedition