Practicing Good Business Since 1876
Like a lot of well-intentioned people who plan on having a relaxing Saturday, we didn’t really mean to start cleaning—it just happened. In 1876, Melville R. Bissell and his wife, Anna, were running a small crockery shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sick of constantly cleaning sawdust off the shop's carpet, Melville invented and patented a one-of-a-kind sweeper. It didn't take long for friends and customers at the shop to ask about buying the sweeper, and when they did, a new business was born.
When Melville passed away in 1889, there was no question who would take the reigns at BISSELL®. Anna stepped in, making her the first female CEO in America. Anna aggressively defended the company’s patents while also marketing sweepers across North America and Europe. It didn't take long for BISSELL® to get its first famous fan, Queen Victoria, who insisted her palace be “Bisselled” every week. We like to think the palace attendants were also fans, loving the free time they had thanks to how easy the BISSELL sweeper made cleaning up royal messes.
Once we knew we could handle a palace, we decided to try our hand at something else. In 1956, we rolled out the manual carpet shampooer, making the chore of scrubbing carpets on your hands and knees virtually disappear (you owe us one, Cinderella). One year later, our products started winning awards. In 1957, the Shampoo Master won the Bachner Award for Achievement for practical application of molded and formed plastics. Fast forward to the end of the 60s and we were a jack of all surfaces, changing the way people clean. We were the first to offer a Vac/Floor Scrubber, Dry Powder Rug Shampoo and Applicator, and the Gemini Sweeper, which as its name suggests, was the first two-brush sweeper.
In 1979, we made magic by introducing the first BISSELL carpet deep cleaning machine, making it easy to get rid of dirty carpet. Then, in the late 1980s, while the New Kids on the Block were busy singing “Hangin’ Tough,” we did the opposite, keeping with the theme of making things easy. We introduced the BISSELL SC, our first deep cleaner that wasn’t attached to a water source. This machine made deep cleaning carpets more effective and convenient than it was before. Of course, we didn’t stop there. In the years to come, we rolled out things like the BISSELL Big Green Clean Machine® and the PowerGroom®, marking the first BISSELL-branded upright vacuum.
In a good way! Early in the 2000s, we really noticed the love we at BISSELL® had for pets when we realized 72% of us were pet owners! Even though there are so many things we love about our pet, we know keeping our homes tidy isn't always at the top of their minds. When we found out that stopped many would-be pet adopters, we knew it we knew it was up to us to do something. So we did. In 2001, we teamed up with with Petfinder.com, for our adoption efforts.
In 2005, we launched the SpotBot® portable deep cleaner, our first product designed specifically for tackling pet messes. Under Cathy Bissell's leadership, we kept up our support of the pet community in a few ways. First, our contributions to pet charities. The second came in 2011, when Cathy founded the BISSELL Pet Foundation®. The non-profit advocates for lost, abused, neglected and abandoned pets by raising money with help from a generous floorcare company (guess who!). Since it started, BISSELL Pet Foundation® has given nearly $6 million to support spay/neuter, adoption, microchipping and foster care programs.
Those programs help reduce the number of pets in shelters and rescues by either providing safety net programs that keep loved pets in their homes, or increasing access to pet adoption. BISSELL Pet Foundation® continues to grow every day. So far, they have partnered with roughly 3,000 shelters in all 50 states, and don't plan on stopping until every pet has a home. That's why BISSELL® has committed at least $1 million in 2018 through pet product sales to support BISSELL Pet Foundation's® life-saving work.
Today, BISSELL® continues to be family-owned, and passionate about helping you effectively and easily clean your home, so you enjoy life and come home to a deeper clean. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if your messes are from baby food or red wine, mud or chocolate, cat hair or a pet accident, we're here to help you embrace all life's messes, erase them quickly, and get back to the most meaningful part of your home - living in it!