Our History

A History of Good Business Since 1876


It started with spilled sawdust

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.

It’s a BISSELL woman’s world

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.

Clean, meet Easy

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.

Clean gets even deeper

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.

Things get a bit hairy

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 was up to us to do something. So we did. In 2001, we teamed up 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 millions 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 over 5,000 shelters in all 50 states, and don't plan on stopping until every pet has a home. That's why BISSELL has committed to supporting BISSELL Pet Foundation's life-saving work.

Home to a Deeper Clean®

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!