Patent of the month June

  Picture wheel-case


The holiday season - and thus the main travel season - is just about to begin. Isn`t it marvellous that wheel-cases can effortlessly cover longer distances at railways or airports - without bulky baggage carts? A small idea with big impact that makes travelling a lot more pleasant! In our patent of the month of June we remember Bernard Sadow, who developed the first wheel-case. His invention titled "Rolling Luggage" was patented in the USA in 1970 (US 3653474) and granted in 1972.

At the end of the 60s, Bernard Sadow had been Vice President at US Luggage, a company which mainly produced suitcases and coats. When he was travelling with his wife heavily loaded with luggage, he came up with the idea of combining suitcases and the baggage carts - the rolling suitcase was born! He built the first model from a large suitcase, mounted four small wheels on its long side and attached a flexible strap to the front.

However, the economic success failed to materialize. Despite great efforts of commercialization, no one wanted to buy a wheel-case - his time had not yet come. Those who had money afforded porters, and those who wanted to impress their girlfriends carried the bulkiest luggage with a smile along the corridor themselves. Long-haul journeys were not as frequent as today due to high air fares.

About 20 years later, with a changed lifestyle and improved technology, the triumphal march of the wheel-case did begin. US pilot Robert Plath modified the original idea by reducing the four wheels to two and replacing the flexible belt with a height-adjustable telescopic handle. These further developments - also patented under US 4995487 - made the wheel-case commercially successful. By the way, a wonderful example of how state-of-the-art technology can inspire new ideas!

The Patent Information Center wishes you a safe journey and inspiring ideas!

"From idea to product" - the Patent Information Center of the RWTH Aachen University offers services close to praxis for researchers, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, founders and inventors!


Die Erfindung des Rollkoffers Erfindung des Rollkoffers

Patentschrift US4995487

Patenschrift US3653474