Welcome to History Lesson,’s newest blog feature. Once a month, we’ll be covering the storied histories and colorful pasts of your favorite luggage brands and products. This month’s featured brand is Samsonite. One of the best-known travel brands in the country, Samsonite has been bringing quality of Biblical proportions to the luggage (and furniture?) industry for over a century. 

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Samsonite LogoAround the turn of the 20th century, a young Colorado native named Jesse Shwayder was working successfully as a New York-based luggage salesman for The Seward Trunk and Bag Company. Though he made plenty of money, Jesse was homesick for the west. In 1910, he took his luggage knowledge and life savings of $3,500 back to his home state to establish his own company. It was after this leap of faith that the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company was born. Without traditional management experience, Jesse based his business model on the Golden Rule, applying “do unto others” to his own employees as well as their customers.

Though the initial $3,500 disappeared quickly, business was steady. In 1917, Jesse turned a profit of over $76,000. By 1925, the remaining four Shwayder brothers–Maurice, Ben, Mark, and Sol–had joined the rapidly expanding team. Continue Reading »