History of Roller Backpacks
The Roller Backpack Right off the Plane
It was not reinventing the wheel by any means; more like reapplying it. Robert Plath was a pilot for Northwest Airlines who was always on the move. Along with Plath was his large bulky and heavy luggage traveling with him from airport to airport across the country.
In 1987, Plath spent a number of hours in his home workshop toying with the idea of making his luggage easier to get around. He thought that simply applying two small wheels to the bottom of his luggage and a long handle to the top will allow him to pull his luggage instead of carry it, saving a considerable amount of energy. The result of Plath’s handiwork was called the Rollaboard. Initially, Plath sold the Rollaboard to fellow pilots and flight crew members. But eventually, other passengers noticed this invention and how the crew moved through the terminal with such ease.
Soon other luggage companies had caught onto the idea and created their own prototype of the Rollaboard. The idea was everywhere. It got to the point where you would hardly ever see a piece of luggage which did not have wheels and a handle.
Not only did the Rollaboard change luggage, but it changed the way that people packed for a plane trip. The Rollaboard was so convenient that it could be used as a carry-on bag. Travelers were able to fit all of their items into one bag, skip bag check at the terminal and carry their bag onto the plan with the Rollaboard designed bag. The drastic increase in carry-on luggage forced the airlines to reformat their in-cabin storage areas. Not only did Plath’s invention change the convenience of traveling, but also the process and thought process of traveling.
Within a few years of inventing the Rollaboard, Plath left the cockpit to start Travelpro International which is now a major luggage company. Since then, Plath’s idea has revolutionized the luggage industry and has helped millions travel though their lives easier.
Roller backpacks have especially taken over college campuses across the nation. The trendy bag is easy to transport all of the student’s books, papers and even their lap top from class to class. With the same appeal as the Rollaboard, roller backpacks roller laptop bags provides ease in transporting heavy and bulky items. Many bags have padded sleeves which are designed to protect valuable items such as a laptop. The trend is not exclusive to students only. The faculty and staff of many universities have found the benefit of roller bags to get their materials from class to class.
Looking at a roller backpacks seems like a non-event and natural. It really is an amazing device when you realize that the Rollaboard invented by Robert Plath could be such a revolutionary item which spills into multiple aspects of daily life. The wheel is one of the most basic aspects of our world. Everything seems to have a wheel. But if you add wheels to a piece of luggage, it really may be a way to “reinvent the wheel.”