L’été est fini ??????

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I’ve been back It’s a funny thing about comin’ home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize what’s changed is you.

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And everyone’s conclusion is eerily the same: Home is wonderful, but it feels very different and, in some ways, no longer home. You’ve changed. You are different but life back home isn’t. Often times it feels like it was frozen while you were away only to defrost right when you return. When you try to express that to your friends, they simply can’t relate and don’t understand.  I just got back from an amazing vacation and I can’t believe the weather forecast Today  is only 14 degrees.

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L’ete c’est  fini, as the French  say, so  end summer, summer is over?

Traveling is too often a stressful airline, sprinting to your gate, and arriving just in time to hear your flight has been delayed.

I am not rich and I don’t know much about be the millionaire, but I’ll be the bet I’d be darling at it. Without a doubt, we’d all be darling millionaires. We know that money can’t buy happiness, but we also know where to shop. 🙂

Do you remember you’re the last journey and your packing? I travel with the same cheap airline as often as I can.  I learn their foibles and am able to the best way to get in. Many budget airlines cut their costs by charging forchecked-baggage by weight or size.

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Before each trip, I watch how other people in your line of work are making a go of it.

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Over the years, luggage control at airports has become a right pain in the wallet. You may remember the days where a simple wink and smile to the person behind the check in the counter would spare you a few extra kilos without paying a penny. We all miss those days. With competition becoming ever more intense, airline companies have placed increasing restrictions on passengers’ luggage allowance, making them pay for a few kilos more.

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Yes, packing lean has become an art, popular with everyone from backpackers to George Clooney in Up in the Air. We’ve seen many lean packers who’ve mastered the art, but it’s time to take packing lean to the next level – packing lean without compromising style.

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However, what made your holiday so significant? There are the things you learn best at holidays, such as an extraordinary story about ordinary things.

It was just me, art and suitcase.

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🙂

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Wouldn’t it be nice to travel like a king and have all your belongings at your feet? It sure sounds like a nice fantasy.

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Scene from the 1956 movie “Around the world in 80 days” based on Jules Verne novel.

When Phileas Fogg decides to circle the globe in Around the World in 80 Days, the 1873 novel by Jules Verne, he doesn’t take a suitcase. “We’ll have no trunks,” he says to his servant Passepartout, “only a carpet bag, with two shirts and three pairs of stockings for me, and the same for you. We’ll buy our clothes on the way.”

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At the time, the suitcase as we know it today hardly existed. In Verne’s day, proper travel required a hefty trunk built of wood, leather, and often a heavy iron base. The best trunks were waterproofed with canvas or tree sap, as steamships were a reigning mode of travel. Without this protection, a suitcase in the hold of a heaving, leaky ship would probably have been wet within a few hours, and crushed by sliding trunks within a few more.

When the suitcase finally did catch on at the end of the 19th century, it was quite literally a case for suits. A typical suitcase came equipped with an inner sleeve for storing shirts, and sometimes a little hat box on the side. But even in the early 20th century, the “dress-suit case” was only one of countless styles of container that travelers could buy, from steamer trunks to club bags to Eveready portable wardrobes. These were boom times for the baggage business.

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In the 18th century, young European elites on the Grand Tour had often traveled with several servants in a coach filled with trunks and furniture. There wasn’t sufficient incentive to revise an inconvenient design while rich travelers simply relied on railway porters and hotel bellhops. (Indeed, when Fogg meets an Indian princess along the way, he buys luggage for her, and the pair is soon carried to their steamship by palanquin—basically a chair with handles that’s lifted with human labor—with “their luggage brought up after on a wheelbarrow.”) But the late 19th century marked a pivot point in the history of transportation: it was the beginning of mass tourism, of travel for travel’s sake (as opposed to, say,  pilgrimages to Jerusalem or migration to industrial mill towns.) Humans had long traveled for the sake of curiosity and exploration, of course, but by 1900 or so, hotels in Switzerland were recording millions of overnight stays per year, and a summer day could draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to British beaches. Travel wasn’t just for the wealthy anymore.

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World’s Oldest Luggage Store Established 1923

Suitcases began as an afterthought in the luggage and leather goods business, but they soon became the very symbol of travel. An 1897 wholesale price list included the words “suit case” only twice in a 20-page list of luggage types. In a 1907 T. Eaton & Co. catalog, trunks took up a full page while suitcases share a page with club bags and valises. In a 1911 United Company catalog, however, around 40 percent of the advertisements were for suitcases. (It’s worth pointing out that these catalogs were from North America, where migration required people—and not just the wealthy—to carry their own belongings far and often).

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Early suitcases (usually called “suit cases” or “suit-cases”) were lighter and more portable than trunks, but they were still bulky by today’s standards. Leather, wicker or thick rubbery cloth was stretched over a rigid wood or steel frame. Corners were rounded out using brass or leather caps. Such suitcases tended to have roughly the proportions of a hardback book: flattened and easy to carry, with a handle on the long side. Until steamship travel declined during the mid-20th century, many were advertised as waterproof. Lightweight models were often marketed specifically to women.

By the 1920s, suitcases featured in books such as The Hardy Boys and such films as The Woman in the Suitcase, as a literary symbol for both mobility and mystery—perhaps filled with gold, photographs, or simply a stranger’s possessions.

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Sadow’s patent, as you might have guessed, was the crucial innovation of the wheeled suitcase. 1970 may seem remarkably recent for such a useful development. (A wheeled trunk was patented in 1887, and a wheeled suitcase in 1945—those initial models simply didn’t catch on). We have to remember that aviation had only recently become truly widespread, though: in the two decades before the patent, flights had increased their passenger totals by ten times, from 17 million in 1949 to 172 million in 1969. That was also the year that set records for the most hijackings in a year, with an astonishing 82—a fact which contributed to increasingly strict baggage checks that funneled passengers through longer lines on the way to centralized security checkpoints.

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Luggage design remains tightly linked to aviation. Carry-on luggage (which, by the way, was transformed in 1987 with the wheeled “Rollaboard” bag and its now-ubiquitous collapsible handle) conforms to the dimensions of the airlines with the smallest storage area. When new weight restrictions for checked bags kicked in during the 2000s, meanwhile, practically every luggage manufacturer released new lightweight models to stay competitive. These suitcases tend to be vertical instead of horizontal, because of their wheels, and relatively stout and thick, because of airline restrictions on suitcase dimensions.

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There’s an irony to the shape of these modern suitcases. They’ve come a long way from the flat and stackable “dress-suit case,” shaped like a big hardback book.

During the Cold War the Soviet KGB were rumoured to have created over 100 ‘suitcase nukes’ – which had then subsequently been lost! Essentially these potentially devastating weapons were a nuclear bomb hosted in what would on the outside appear to be a suitcase. They were so-called ‘nukes’ because each was estimated to contain 10-kiloton punch, which in real terms roughly equates to something as powerful as an Hiroshima bomb. Although they may well have existed, it is likely that their explosive capacity has been wildly exaggerated.

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Another Suitcase In Another Hall is a song made famous by the Eva Peron biopic, Evita, in which Madonna starred. The lyrics describe the singer’s familiarity with the unhappiness of having to move on after a failed romance. In the stage musical, the song is sung by Juan Perón’s mistress after she is pushed out of Perón’s life by his future wife, Eva.

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Do you know that the story of the Mexican Suitcase isn’t strictly about luggage. In fact it is actually a series of tattered boxe, abeit it significant ones, which reappeared towards the end of 2007 in Mexico City. Inside them were the missing Spanish Civil War photographic negatives shot by Hungarian war photographer, Robert Capa. These negatives had disappeared from Capa’s Paris studio at the beginning of the Second World War. For years it was believed these negatives survived – although never proven – and Capo’s brother, Cornell, made it his mission to track them down – for years to no avail. Finally in 2007 they appeared and revealed not only Capa’s negatives but also Gerda Taro and David Seymour’s – two other major war photographers. Together their negatives formed a compelling and historic record of the course of Spanish history and fight against fascism.

Mexican Suitcase, MS 46

Mexican Suitcase, MS 46

Today the 3D printing is very much a reality of 2014 but 2020 could be the year that we see everyone having a 3D printer within their homes? Having a 3D printer would allow you to print your own suitcases out to suit the type of destination and method of transportation for your trip.

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Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo allegedly took a 3D printed bag to the 2014 Fifa World Cup but it may be some time before this type of technology rolls out to us mere mortals.

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Luggage Drones

Maybe traveling independently of your luggage is nothing new but what about arriving at your destination with your luggage dropped right by the door? Gone are the days of waiting by a baggage carousel, lugging your belongings through a terminal and hauling it up onto the check-in counter. Holidays would be revolutionised: programme your destination into the drone, attach your bags, commence travel and then arrive with the luggage at the doorstep of your hotel. This could be the future.

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Today’s luggage instead fits the rough proportions of a big shoe box—and this gives it almost the same shape as those unwieldy trunks that Phileas Fogg preferred to leave at home.

A century of revolution in transportation, in other words, seems to have brought us back to the hefty trunk shape that the first suitcases replaced. Just as we might pack and re-pack our belongings to fit our luggage, we make and re-make our luggage to fit our built world.

It’s always something during  your holiday trip.

If you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself

and eat raspberries.

There is nothing delicate about this tiny fruit.

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Ella

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About conservationwithella

Hello, I'm Ella, Art on Paper Conservator & Preservation Manager at Glasgow University Archives and Special Collections. This blog is a walk through my daily life, work, arts & crafts history, my discovery that everything in my life is enough to be a continuous source of reflection. I started blogging to entertain myself but I hope you enjoy it too. I'm sure you agree, that Life without art is nothing. :)

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