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The History of the Bissell Carpet Sweeper


The Bissell Carpet Sweeper was invented by Melville and Anna Bissell in 1876, who build a Bissell factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan in in 1883. After her husband's death in 1889, Anna Bissell went on to become the world's first female chief executive.

How a Bissell Carpet Sweeper Works

In the Bissell Carpet Sweeper, the wheels of the carpet sweeper rotate a brush underneath. The brush dislodges the dirt and sweeps it inside.

The dust conditions inside Melville and Anna Bissell's crockery shop inspired the invention of the carpet sweeper. Originally developed to preserve Melville's health by sweeping away the dust, the Bissells soon recognized the carpet sweeper's market potential and began production.

The Bissell Company

Women neighbors of the Bissells, working out of their homes in Grand Rapids, Michigan, put together the inner workings and cases of the sweeper.

The neighbors secured tufts of hog bristles with string, dipped the tufts into hot pitch, inserted the tufts into brush rollers, and trimmed them with scissors. Mrs. Bissell then gathered the parts in a clothes basket and took them back to a room above the store for assembly.

While production was underway, Mr. Bissell was on the road selling his new invention. To demonstrate, he threw a handful of dirt onto a carpet while his prospective customer watched the dirt disappear into the clanging contraption… a sale was made. The Bissell Carpet Sweeper remains virtually unchanged today.

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