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The History of the Longaberger Basket Company

The Longaberger Company's rich history began in 1919 when J.W. Longaberger began working for the Dresden Basket Factory in Dresden, Ohio. Being a quick learner with a natural aptitude he soon grew quite skilled in the art of basket making. Over time he mastered the tight weaving style that became his trademark. When the factory closed due to the Great Depression he took a job at a paper mill. However J.W. had found his calling and he continued to make baskets in his spare time. In 1936, J.W. and his wife Bonnie Jean accumulated enough money to buy the closed Dresden Basket Factory. They reopened the factory and named it The Ohio Ware Basket Company. This was a reference to the ware baskets that the Dresden Basket Factory had previously manufactured for the pottery industry.

Many years later in the 1970's, J.W. and Bonnie Jean's son, Dave Longaberger took notice that baskets were enjoying a new popularity. He asked his father if he would mind making a few baskets like he used to make in years past. J.W. made a dozen and Dave took them to a neighboring town. They were an immediate hit and a new family business was born. Dave founded J.W.'s Handwoven Baskets in honor of his recently deceased father. As the baskets grew more and more popular the company soon expanded to a larger manufacturing facility.

The unique distribution method of Longaberger baskets came about when Dave Longaberger analyzed the various sales models that the company had been utilizing. He realized that the most effective method of selling their baskets was through direct sales via home shows hosted by sales consultants. This way a consultant could take the time to explain the history and craftsmanship behind each handmade basket. It wasn't long before sales exploded and these collectable baskets became extremely popular.

Longaberger basket shaped headquarters buildingThe Longaberger corporate headquarters in Newark, Ohio is a very unique building since it is shaped in the form of a basket - and not just any basket but Longaberger's most popular basket, the Medium Market Basket! Dave originally envisioned all of the Longaberger buildings to be designed this in this fashion. Sadly, he died soon after its completion and his children who now run the company decided against designing any future buildings this way - leaving this singular building as a testament to their father's vision.

Over the last several years Longaberger has expanded their product line to include purses, jewelry and pottery. These have proven to be a very popular addition to the product line.

Longaberger baskets and accessories such as wrought iron furnishings, basket liners and protectors, WoodCrafts lids, handbags and jewelry continue to rise in popularity and value. The J.W. Longaberger Collection limited edition series of baskets are especially prized as once they are retired no more are produced. The Longaberger company is truly an inspiring American success story for collectors the world over!

What you see here is a sampling of all the Longaberger baskets and other collectibles available on eBay. If you don't see exactly what you're looking for use our site search to see even more items!