Best Spinner Luggage: Samsonite
The Samsonite brand was founded in New York City in 1989 by Michael Sperling. Since then, it has grown into one of the largest luxury brands worldwide with over 2 million employees and sales exceeding $1 billion annually. Its products are designed to meet the needs of today’s modern professional traveler. Their flagship product is their “Shelter” line which includes bags, backpacks, briefcases and laptop cases. They also manufacture a range of accessories such as shoulder straps, belts, and other small items that are useful when traveling.
Samsonite is known for its high quality materials and construction techniques. All of their products are made from durable materials like nylon or polyester. These bags feature zippers that have been tested to withstand extreme temperatures (over 200 degrees Fahrenheit) and pressure up to 500 pounds per square inch (psi). Some of these bags even include water resistant features. Samsonite makes use of a variety of leathers and hides including calfskin, suede, nubuck, cordura and canvas.
In addition to the main Samsonite line they also make luggage for business travelers and those who need to carry large amounts of valuable documents or equipment. One example would be their Traveler series which includes a variety of sizes ranging from small to extra-large. The smallest of these, the “Medium” (15″ or 38cm) is comparable to other manufacturers’ large carry-on bags. They also make a Spinner range which includes larger luggage with built-in spinning wheels.
For those wishing to carry their luggage on their travels they offer a “Cabin Max” line that includes a number of sizes ranging from small to extra-large as well as the appropriate accessories such as garment bags and toiletry kits. These bags feature expansion capabilities and locks on most of their zip openings. The brand also manufactures laptop or notebook carrying cases and briefcases. These products include features such as integrated notebook storage, and a padded tablet compartment.
Samsonite also produces a small range of handbags and luggage sizes for infants and toddlers. Most of these are made from soft-structured fabric or hard plastic.
Other products in the line are designed for specific purposes such as hunting or fishing. These include special carrying cases and bags with integrated features like sharpened fishing hooks holders. They also make a range of hand- and throwable items such as alarm clocks, compasses, and flare guns.
Other Samsonite products that don’t fit into any of the categories listed above include small electrical devices such as battery chargers and cellphone accessories like headphones and hands-free kits. They also make a range of men’s accessories such as belts, wallets, money clips and check book covers.
Their current product line also includes a “Neon” series that is designed to be easily seen in low light conditions. This includes their carry-on spinner, garment and overnight bags.
Samsonite is a subsidiary of Samsonite International, which is based in Lexington, Kentucky. It was founded in Denver, Colorado in 1910 by 20-year-old Vernon Richmond Smith. Smith began his business career as a courier for the Western Union Telegraph Company and saved $75 from his annual salary of $600 to buy a horse. He later bought a wagon for $75 and made an additional $300 profit by delivering supplies to local farms in his area. By this time, he had saved $775 and used it to start a business hauling local freight in Colorado Springs, and later in Denver.
Eventually he bought a horse and wagon for his first full-time delivery job for a wholesale grocer, delivering groceries to individual customers in the city.
Smith eventually noticed that the farmers did not need the same type of supplies as the people living in town, so he began making deliveries to them as well. He quickly learned that farmers needed a wider range of supplies than those living in town, so he began to increase the number of items he carried. He also bought a stock book and began marking down each item delivered. He later began writing the names of each customer next to each item delivered to them.
In 1910, while still working for Western Union, he decided to go into the new mail order business. He placed an advertisement in the “Colorado Farm Mill and Mine” trade publication offering his delivery services to local farmers. In exchange for his delivery service, they would receive a discount on their mail order purchases. He soon received letters from other farmers requesting the same service.
As he continued to save money from his Western Union job, he invested in a better horse and wagon which could carry more freight at one time. To accommodate this increase in volume, he also purchased a small warehouse to store his supplies and built a one-room house for himself near it. He also built a stable to house his horses. He continued taking orders from local farmers and delivering their mail order packages in exchange for a small fee.
Word about his business spread quickly, and he soon found that he was making more money from his delivery service than he was at Western Union. He sold his horse and wagon, promised to deliver all future orders within 24 hours, and offered free delivery of orders over $3. He also offered to cancel or refund any unsatisfactory purchases as long as the customer paid return shipping. To save time, he began making multiple deliveries in a single trip by taking back roads on foot through the small towns and villages near Denver.
By 1912, he was doing so much business that he left Western Union to work full-time in the grocery delivery service. He placed another advertisement in a local farm publication, and soon received even more requests for his services. By this time, he had saved enough money to purchase a second-hand delivery wagon for $175. He placed the advertisements for his business on the sides of the wagon so that it could be seen by everyone.
Soon he was doing so much business that he could no longer make all of the deliveries himself. He hired two delivery boys to assist him, and used his horse and wagon to make the local deliveries while the boys made the out-of-town deliveries in their own wagon. In addition to delivering goods, he also offered to pick up and deliver commodities at the local villages as long as farmers brought the items to his warehouse. This allowed him to offer additional items for sale at his store.
In 1914 he incorporated his business as the Johnson’s Farmers Merchants Distributing Company and gave himself a salary of $25 a month. The rest of the income was invested in the business.
The company continued to grow, and by 1917 the delivery wagon was no longer sufficient to meet demand. Johnson bought a used Model-T for $275 and painted “Johnson’s Farmers Merchant Distributing Co.” on both sides of it. As the business continued to grow, he soon needed a roadster to expand his route. In 1919 he traded in the Model-T for a new Roadster.
In 1920, at the age of 40, Johnson married Ethel Turner, the 17-year-old daughter of a local farmer. The couple would eventually have three children: Norman (b.1921), Darrell (b.1924), and Eldon (b.1927).
By 1923, Johnson’s business had grown to the point that he needed to expand his warehouse. He took out a loan from the local grain elevator and had his brother-in-law construct a larger building. The company continued to steadily expand until it employed seven people at its height.
By the early 1930s, Johnson was facing competition from several new grocery delivery businesses in the area. In addition to larger businesses like Fred Meyer and Safeway, a couple of local farmers had started their own grocery delivery services. To try to compete, Johnson entered into an agreement with a couple of local farmers to provide free delivery for their customers. This lowered his operating costs, but couldn’t make up for the increasing number of competitors.
In 1932, Johnson sold the business for $2,000 to a competitor, who continued to use the name Johnson’s Farmers Merchants Distributing Co. The business continued to operate until at least the 1960s.
Sources & references used in this article:
Spinner wheel assembly for a luggage case by PJ Karl – US Patent App. 15/193,791, 2017 – Google Patents
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Automatically extendable and retractable wheel assembly for luggage by R Goldner – US Patent App. 16/239,612, 2019 – Google Patents
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