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Our History

A History of Good Business Since 1876.

It started with spilled sawdust...

Anna and Melville's Crockery Shop

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 that advocates for lost, abused, neglected and abandoned pets by raising funds through the sale of BISSELL pet products. Since its inception, the BISSELL Pet Foundation has been able to award more than $500,000 to over 375 organizations in 43 states. Our goal is to raise $250,000 annually through pet product sales to support the life-saving work of the foundation. We are deeply committed to helping pets find homes and to showing BISSELL customers that, with the right cleaning tools, pet ownership can be full of joy and companionship, rather than fur balls and “surprises”.

New 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.

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