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Travelpro The Original Wheeled Suitcase

Updated on July 16, 2016

This is a story about American inventiveness. When I was a boy I heard that phrase a lot. But in recent decades it has fallen out of fashion.


Bob Plath was a 747 airline pilot and part-time inventor. He began tinkering with various kinds of bags in his basement. Through experimentation, he invented a suitcase with wheels and a pull out handle in 1987 called the Rollaboard®. He took his invention to work and other pilots began asking him if he would make bags like his for them. At first, he only sold them to pilots and flight crews. However, travelers at the airports saw what the pilots traveled with and wondered where they could buy the new Rollaboard luggage. Bob patented the product idea and started a company called Travelpro in 1989 to sell luggage to the general public as well as airline flight crews. From the outset, these new bags stirred a lot of interest. Suddenly, a revolution in the luggage industry came to be.


Travelpro is now a leader in the luggage business. In 1994 “Inc” magazine listed Travelpro as one of the seven fastest growing private companies in America. With that sign of approval, the company really took off. Today, Travelpro makes many lines of bags, which all share many of the innovations started by Bob Plath.


One of the most annoying things about bags with wheels is the wobble in the tubular pull handle. Travelpro handles don't wiggle. The handle is strong and durable. It’s called the Powerscope extension handle and can be used to push or pull the bag.


I was sent a Crew™ 9 29” Expandable Spinner bag to try out and it is a great addition to my travel. There is a garment sleeve inside the bag that keeps clothes wrinkle free. A foam roll bar inside the sleeve prevents creasing when packing a sport coat or slacks. It’s a big bag and I can pack a lot in it. The bag makes boarding a ship or putting my luggage into the hold of an airplane easy.


If you want to get a wonderful, durable, lightweight bag you can’t go wrong with a Travelpro.

Bob Plath and the original wheeled suitcase
Bob Plath and the original wheeled suitcase | Source

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