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History

Hartmann Trunk Co. Milwaukee, WI ©1877; Joseph S. Hartmann, Founder
Hartmann Trunk Co. Milwaukee, WI ©1877
Joseph S. Hartmann, Founder
  For 130 years, Hartmann has prided itself on crafting the finest luggage and leather goods. Throughout its history, Hartmann has upheld its image as the definitive American purveyor of stylish carrying bags, always viewing luggage as a veritable fashion accessory. From creating gorgeous yet practical trunks and pullmans for steam liner and railway travel to the development of smaller, fashionable suitcases designed specifically for travel on new commercial jets, Hartmann has always been the brand of choice for discerning travelers. Even now, the modern Hartmann customer appreciates stylish design and the finest materials, demands practical functionality, and truly respects American heritage and craftsmanship.
 
1877: Hartmann Inc. was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Bavarian Trunkmaker, Joseph S. Hartmann.
 
1905: Mr. Hartmann had a vision to build "luggage so fine it will stand as a symbol of excellence." Because of his vision, the company grew rapidly and moved to larger facilities in Racine, Wisconsin.



Hartmann Wardrobe Trunk Product Guide ©1925; Consumer Ad ©1925
Hartmann Wardrobe Trunk Product Guide ©1925
Consumer Ad ©1925


1910s - 1920s: The nation was in the midst of vast industrial growth. Newly established railroads were providing arteries for trade between the 38 states, and people were traveling like never before. Our business was expanding greatly to accommodate the needs of the new influx of railway travelers.



Consumer Ad ©1939
Consumer Ad ©1939


1930s: By this time, Hartmann offered over 800 models, sizes and colors of steamship trunks and luggage. Commercial aviation expanded significantly during the 1930s, as new aircraft designs were introduced and new air routes circled the globe. The public regarded air travel as exciting and glamorous. Hartmann responded to the trend by designing luxurious, fashion-oriented luggage for this glamorous, wealthy group of international travelers.
 
1939: Hartmann was looking for a new super-strong leather with maximum durability and individuality. The president of Hartmann presented the belt from a flywheel to a Canadian tannery. Six months later, Belting Leather for our business cases, luggage and personal leathergoods.



Consumer Ad ©1942 | Consumer Ad ©1954
Consumer Ad ©1942 | Consumer Ad ©1954


1940s - 1950s: For years, Hartmann had been making framed luggage out of aluminum and steel. After a year of testing, Hartmann developed, and later manufactured, the lightweight, durable basswood frame. This material proved to withstand travel better than aluminum or steel, allowing the U.S. to utilize these metals for wartime purposes.



1954 novel, Live and Let Die; Consumer Ad ©1955 | Consumer Ad ©1959
1954 novel, Live and Let Die
Consumer Ad ©1955 | Consumer Ad ©1959


1954: Author Ian Fleming immortalizes Hartmann in his 1954 novel, Live and Let Die, as Agent 007 – James Bond carries a lightweight Hartmann Skymate suitcase.
 
1958: America's first jetliner inspires the creation of the ultra-light, sleek Hartmann "707" luggage collection.
 
1959: From a distribution base of about 100 stores, Hartmann grew to about 450 stores.



Consumer Ad ©1968
Consumer Ad ©1968


1960s: Hartmann developed more distinctive, fashionable luggage pieces for the women of America, who at the time were responsible for 80 percent of luggage sales.



Consumer Ad ©1976 | Consumer Ad ©1981
Consumer Ad ©1976  | Consumer Ad ©1981


1973: Before the famous 747 was introduced, airplanes did not have overhead storage compartments for luggage. Working from the 747's interior specifications, Hartmann designed the first three-piece luggage "wardrobe" the "747 Carry-ons."
 
1970s - 1980s: The fashion designers Halston and Gloria Vanderbilt were hired to design collections that attracted those devoted to fashion. Their designs opened a whole new market for luggage in the 1970s. At the same time, the Boeing 747 enters service and changes the face of travel by reducing the cost of flying. The era of affordable air transportation had arrived. This introduction led the masses to the airports and increased the need for luggage and travel gear for everyone.



Hartmann's fashionable Luxe Collection, designed by John Truex, of Lambertson Truex, combines vintage charm with modern functionality.
Hartmann's fashionable Luxe Collection, designed by John Truex, of Lambertson Truex, combines vintage charm with modern functionality.


1994: Hartmann was the first manufacturer to pioneer the business suiter compartment to meet the demands of business travelers. This compartment is separate from the main packing department of our Mobile Travelers and can accommodate up to two hanging suits.
 
1998: Hartmann develops a partnership with the acclaimed New York accessories designers Lambertson Truex to update current products and design new, fashionable collections for the next century.



Bloomingdale's 59th Street, in New York City
Bloomingdale's 59th Street, in New York City


2002: Hartmann celebrates its 125th Anniversary, the highlight of which, included a window display featuring vintage Hartmann product, at Bloomingdale's 59th Street, in New York City.




2005: Hartmann remains committed to its heritage and the consistent themes of its past, including design innovation, product performance, and quality craftsmanship, which are the ongoing inspiration for its new products like the Oxford Weave fabric in the Wings® Collection.




2006: Hartmann celebrates 50th anniversary of Walnut Tweed™.




2011: Staying current with “New Technology”. Hartmann is proud to introduce the new PC4 collection. With state of the art 100% virgin polycarbonate technology - PC4 has signature Hartmann DNA redefining lightweight travel.



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