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Throwback: The Story Behind the BISSELL Ferris Wheel

BISSELL Ferris wheel

Most of us know February 14 as Valentine’s Day, but did you know it also happens to be designated as Ferris Wheel Day? Fun fact: George Ferris invented and displayed the original Ferris wheel at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. And, just a short time after, BISSELL built a Ferris wheel for the World’s Fair in 1904. The company then built miniature Ferris wheels for department stores, which displayed eight to twelve BISSELL sweepers.

A replica of the BISSELL Ferris wheel debuted with the Grand Rapids Public Museum in 1994 in its “Herpolsheimer’s Department Store” as the only motion display.  The exhibit includes a recreation of the shop filled with all kinds of luxuries one might have treated themselves to in the early 1900s: fabrics, hats, fancy vases and other décor, and yes, even a top-of-the-line sweeper.

The replica wheel was built by 52 BISSELL employees who volunteered their time over 18 months! At the time, BISSELL CEO John Bissell said, “The Ferris Wheel project brought associates and suppliers closer together in a fun-filled, shared endeavor.”

Check out the sweeper wheel in action:

20170209_FerrisWheel_1

02092017_FerrisWheel_2

Thanks to the Grand Rapids Public Museum Archives for their aid in drudging up this piece of history.

BISSELL will serve up more of these vintage gems from our archives—which, if we’re being honest, tend to be a bit overflowing considering our 140-year history! In case you were wondering, vintage dust from 50 years ago looks a lot like dust today (maybe a bit more refined, but overall the same).

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