I know that Tufnol is (or was) made from layers of linen impregnated under great pressure with resin. Likewise, Permali is (or was) plywood similarly treated. I believe that both were developed in the 1930's.
Red fibre (as in washers etc) is much older but I don't have a clue what it is made from or how long it's been available. I suspect that the cheap suitcases you used to be able to get are a relative of this versatile and tough material and that would mean it was at least 100 years old..
Any ideas on this?