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Eureka Celebrates 100 Years of Cleaning Innovation

For the past 100 years, vacuum [1] cleaners have been used for everything from drying hair and clothes to dusting hats, but the most remarkable function of a Eureka vacuum cleaner has always been cleaning floors. In 2009, Eureka is celebrating 100 years of consumer-inspired cleaning innovations [2] that started with a true “eureka” moment – the idea that a lightweight, convenient vacuum could save Americans time and hassle. “I found it!” Near the turn of the 20th century, the first “portable” vacuums were made from wood and tin and could weigh more than 90 pounds. That was when Detroit businessman Fred Wardell [3] first developed a lighter weight, aluminum cleaner that featured removable wheels – and The Eureka Company was born. Wardell named the company for the Greek exclamation “Eureka!” meaning “I found it!” and it has been synonymous with innovative inventions ever since. “In 1909 the vacuum relied more on a woman’s muscle power than on horsepower,” said Jackie Cooper, director of marketing and communications for Eureka. “Eureka founder Fred Wardell saw the potential for vacuums and created six different models that were not only easier to use but also had attachments for cleaning challenging areas like rugs and crevices, similar to our vacuums today.” Wardell’s hard work and foresight paid off in 1915 when his small vacuum operation hit the big time, winning the day’s highest award for a vacuum cleaner – Grand Prize by a jury of electrical experts at the San Francisco International Exposition. Eureka kept moving full steam ahead, and less than 20 years after the company started, Eureka’s door-to-door sales force of 5,000 was selling one-third of all vacuum cleaners produced in the United States. Vacuums and so much more While the iconic “Eureka Man” [4] was busy selling vacuums door-to-door, Eureka’s innovative spirit pulled the company into other industries, too. Soon the trusted Eureka name could also be found on a variety of products from gas masks during WWII and a “Wooden Lung” in 1949 to school furniture and a battery-operated car in the 1960s. In 1974 Eureka joined forces with the [1] [2] [3] [4]

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