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
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.
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.
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.
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 in December of 2011, the BISSELL® Pet Foundation has given over $3 million to support spay/neuter, adoption, microchipping and foster care programs. These programs help to reduce the number of pets in shelters and rescues by providing safety net programs that keep loved pets in their homes or by increasing access to pet adoption. The BISSELL® Pet Foundation is growing every day. In fact, it has partnered with over 2,000 shelters and rescues in all 50 states! We are not stopping until every pet has a home which is why BISSELL® has committed $750,000 annually through pet product sales to support the life-saving work of the foundation.
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.