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Jesse Shwayder

Born: 26-Mar-1882
Birthplace: Blackhawk, CO
Died: 24-Jul-1970
Location of death: Denver, CO
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, CO

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Samsonite Corporation

Jesse Shwayder worked as a luggage salesman, selling suitcases made by the Seward Trunk & Bag Company, until he used his life savings of $3,500 to establish his own Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company, on 10 March 1910. The business made folding card tables and furniture under the "Samson" brand, named for the Biblical character. Shwayder, who was devoutly religious, also named his son King David and required all company executives to carry the Golden Rule engraved on a golden band.

In 1939 the company introduced a sleekly-designed new suitcase branded "Samsonite", with a tapered shape and vulcanized fiber covering, and in 1965 the firm was renamed for its best-selling product. Shwayder retired in 1960, and his son King David became company President until Samsonite was acquired by Beatrice Foods. No members of the Shwayder family have been involved with the business since it was sold by Beatrice to private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 1987. The company has been resold several times since then.

Father: Isaac Shwayder (grocer)
Brother: Benjamin Shwayder (Samsonite executive)
Brother: Mark Shwayder (Samsonite executive)
Brother: Maurice Shwayder (Samsonite executive)
Brother: Sol Shwayder (Samsonite executive)
Wife: Nellie Weitz Shwayder (m. 1907)
Daughter: Dorothy Shwayder Heitler ("Dot")
Daughter: Fay Shwayder (tennis player, b. 1916, d. 2005)
Son: King David Shwayder (Samsonite executive)

    High School: West High School, Denver, CO

    Seward Trunk & Bag Company Salesman (1902-09)
    Samsonite Founder and President (1910-60)
    Member of the Board of Samsonite
    Jewish Ancestry
    Polish Ancestry


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