Skip to main content

Samsonite Corporation, 1923-1973

Identifier: B245.01


  • 1923-1973

Biographical / Historical

Samsonite Corporation, the world-famous maker of luggage, started in Denver, Colorado, in 1910, when Jesse Shwayder opened a small luggage factory in Denver with his father, Isaac Shwayder, and brothers, Mark, Maurice, Benjamin, and Solomon Shwayder. The operation became incorporated as the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company in 1912 and counted many members of the Shwayder family among its employees. All of the Shwayder brothers held executive positions in the company in the 1920s: Jesse was the company's president, Mark Shwayder was in charge of sales, Maurice and Ben Shwayder were in charge of manufacturing, and Solomon Shwayder served as the company’s lawyer. Samson was the first trade name for the company’s luggage, and this was later changed to Samsonite. Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company started to diversify its product offerings in the 1930s by manufacturing folding furniture, and the company changed its name to Shwayder Brothers, Inc., in 1931. As sales increased throughout the 20th century, the company moved into gradually larger facilities in Denver, and at various stages in the business’ history it opened additional plants in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Arizona, Mexico, and Japan. In 1961, Jesse Shwayder’s son King D. Shwayder became president of the company, and in 1965 the Shwayder Brothers, Inc., changed its name to Samsonite Corporation. In 1973, the Shwayder sold the company and in 2005 the company moved its headquarters to Massachusetts.


From the Collection: 7.25 Linear Feet (4 containers)

From the Collection: 1.35 Gigabytes

Scope and Contents

The series consists of materials associated with Samsonite Corporation and its history. Materials include two copies of the brochure, "The Samsonite Story," a company history published by Samsonite Corporation, ''The Samsonite Sentinel,'' a one-page newspaper composite about the founding of the company, the book "Jesse Shwayder and the Golden Rule" created by Shwayder Bros, Inc., and Jessie Shwayder's Golden Rule Marble: a green glass marble with bronze-colored narrow strip around the marble, gap at ends, and stamped lettering reading "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."


Series 1 is arranged chronologically in Folder 1. The newspaper clipping is arranged chronologically with other oversize materials in the bottom of Box 1. Jesse Shwayder's Golden Rule Marble is arranged where it will fit within Box 1.


Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428