Harper J. Ransburg was born in Indiana in 1886, the son of German Quaker farmers. He dropped out of school in the eighth grade to help support his family. In 1911, after forming his own glass-cutting business in Ohio, Harper got a loan. With the money, he moved his business to Indianapolis and created the Harper J. Ransburg Company—eventually growing into a multi-million dollar company.
Ransburg combined hard work, determination, and a knack for knowing the needs and wants of consumers. He was one of the first to market houseware items as "sets" rather than individual products.
He also packaged his products with complementary goods-partnering with a bakery, for example, to sell cookie jars full of cookies. Ransburg was a leader in "cross-selling," too. He displayed his houseware products in hardware store windows, realizing this was where his customers-housewives-could see them best. Using these techniques, Ransburg developed a highly successful business with a range of product lines.
Ransburg products reflect the pride and craftsmanship of years gone by. While early products like cut glass, decorated candles, and decorated glass are valuable collectibles, they're difficult to find and identify--as are wrought iron, wire, wicker, and plastic items. Ransburg stoneware and metalware products, however, can be found nationwide.