A History of Good Business Since 1876
Anna and Melville's Crockery Shop
It started with spilled sawdust
Like many well-intentioned people who set out to have a relaxing Saturday, we didn’t mean to start cleaning—it just happened. In 1876, Melville R. Bissell and his wife, Anna, owned a small crockery shop in Michigan. Because they were constantly cleaning sawdust off the carpet of the shop (know the feeling?), Melville invented a unique carpet sweeper and patented it. When customers and friends began asking where they could buy the carpet sweeper, a new business was born.
|Anna and Melville Bissell
It’s a BISSELL woman’s world
That’s the theme here at BISSELL. When Melville Bissell died in 1889, there was no question who would run the company. His wife Anna stepped in to lead the business, becoming the first female CEO in America. She aggressively defended the company’s patents and marketed sweepers successfully throughout North America and Europe. In fact, in the late 1890s BISSELL gained its biggest fan in Queen Victoria, insisting that her palace be “Bisselled” every week. Palace attendants must have loved the extra free time they had after royal messes became much easier to clean up.
Clean, meet Easy
There’s a lot of fun to be had out there in the world, so once we’d conquered a palace, we started working on making cleaning with BISSELL products even easier. In 1956, we introduced the manual carpet shampooer, which rendered the practice of scrubbing carpets on hands and knees obsolete. Cinderella, you’re welcome. Only a year later, our Shampoo Master won the Bachner Award for Achievement in the fascinating field of practical application of molded and formed plastics. We were on a roll. By the end of the 60s, we were a jack of all surfaces, revolutionizing the way and ease with which people clean, offering the first combination Vac/Floor scrubber, Dry Powder Rug Shampoo and Applicator, and the Gemini Sweeper, the first two-brush sweeper.
Clean gets even deeper
In 1979, we made magic, introducing the first BISSELL carpet deep cleaning machine, making dirty carpet easily disappear. Then, in the late 1980s, just as the New Kids on the Block were singing “Hangin’ Tough”, we did the opposite and created the BISSELL SC, the company’s first deep cleaner that was no longer tethered to a water source in the house. As a result, carpet deep cleaning became more effective and convenient than ever, and that’s the path we’ve continued on ever since, creating the BISSELL Big Green Clean Machine®, dubbed the “Big Daddy” of deep cleaning. Plus, we introduced the PowerGroom®, the first BISSELL-branded upright vacuum in the 90s, which more than lived up to its name.
Things get a bit hairy
In a good way! In the early 2000s, we discovered that all of us here at BISSELL share a love for pets (72% of us are pet owners!). But for all the amazing things we love about our four-legged friends, they’re not so mindful of a tidy home. When we found out this was a deterrent to many would-be pet adopters, we knew we had to do something. In 2001, we began adoption efforts in partnership with Petfinder.com, and in 2005, we launched the SpotBot® portable deep cleaner, our first product designed specifically for cleaning up after pets. Under the leadership of Cathy Bissell (parent to three black labs), we continued to support the pet community through contributions to U.S. pet charities. And, in 2011, she founded the BISSELL Pet Foundation, a non-profit organization created to address the growing problem of displaced, unwanted and homeless animals in the United States by raising funds through the sale of BISSELL pet products. The Foundation is an extension of her long-standing love for pets and commitment to their welfare. Since its inception, the BISSELL Pet Foundation has awarded over 2 million dollars to 386 animal welfare organizations. The BISSELL Pet Foundation has also partnered with over 1,500 shelters and rescues in all 50 states through the BISSELL Partners for Pets Program. Each shelter receives a product donation every year to be used as a tool to help raise additional funds for their organization. With a focus on funding programs directly related to the care of homeless pets, countless lives have been saved as a result of the BISSELL Pet Foundation's work.
Now home to a deeper clean
To this very day, BISSELL is still family-owned and passionate about helping you effectively and easily clean your home so you can put down the vacuum, enjoy life and come home to a deeper clean. All in all, whether your messes are baby food or red wine, mud or chocolate, cat hair or pet accident, we’re here to help you embrace those messes, erase them in a jiffy, and get on with the most meaningful aspect of your home—living in it.