Luggage Used To Show Off Where You’d Been
In today’s age of jet travel, it is no longer the “in” thing to cover one’s luggage with stickers showing where one has been, and the airlines won’t allow a person to keep old destination tags attached. Back when train travel was the primary means of traveling long distances, however, the railroad baggage stickers were applied directly to the luggage and a suitcase covered with a variety of stickers identified a person as a well-seasoned traveler.
The stickers were handed out at railroad ticket offices and depots when a ticket was purchased. They had a simple gummed back that could be moistened and attached to the bag, and the traveler was encouraged to do so. Since they identified the railroad line, this was a form of advertising that carried virtually no cost.
The sticker often identified a travel destination as well as the railroad company’s name or logo. The Burlington Route used Buffalo Bill Cody to tell one to visit “Yellowstone Park via the Cody Road.”
“See America First – Glacier National Park” was inscribed around the mountain goat logo of the Great Northern railway.
One can also trace the development of the trains through the baggage labels, since many of the lines pictured their most up-to-date engines on them. From the earlier classic steam trains, such as Missouri Pacific Railroad’s “Sunshine Special” to the City of Denver’s Streamliner, history was recorded on these pieces of gummed paper.
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