Herbert W. “H.W.” Hoover, Sr.
The eldest son of W. H. “Boss” Hoover was best known as “H. W.” .. son of the founder and heir to the title of “builder” of the business. When the multifaceted “Boss” in 1908 purchased the patent for a carpet cleaning device, little did he dream that his elder son, other family members, and the hometown folks would build a worldwide home appliance empire. The “Boss” had simply charged his son in 1908 to take this new idea and “make of it what you can.”
Those unfamiliar with Hoover history might assume that the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner Company evolved from an early broom business. This is not the case. The Hoover Company, as we know it today, actually began in the corner of a leather goods factory in 1908.
The factory, which manufactured harnesses, saddles, and horse collars, was owned by W. H. “Boss” Hoover, a businessman who attempted to diversify by buying the patent for an electric “gadget” which swept rugs. He had been looking for a second business venture because he knew in invention of the horseless carriage would soon make his leather goods operation obsolete.
Hoover put his son, H. W., in charge of the new enterprise, which he called the Hoover Suction Sweeper Company, and told him to “make of it what you can.” It was a challenge that H. W. exceeded beyond expectation. He was instrumental in developing a nationwide dealer organization for the Company, as well as the concept of the door-to-door “Hoover Man.” Business flourished. The Hoovers began to look to other parts of the world to expand their business.
In 1911, an assembly plant was established in Windsor, Ontario, marking the Company's first step into foreign fields. In 1918, a factory was built in Hamilton, Ontario, and a sales network set up throughout Canada. The next year, a manufacturing operation was set up in Great Britain, providing a base from which goods could be shipped throughout Europe. During the same year, the now-famous slogan, “It Beats As It Sweeps As It Cleans,” was created to promote the concept of the exclusive agitator bar, which had been developed at Hoover and was revolutionizing the vacuum cleaner industry.
By 1921, Hoover business was being conducted all over the world. The next year, the Company changed its name to simply, The Hoover Company.
In 1932, a new factory and offices were built at Perivale, near London, England, to keep up with rapidly growing business. Although the Perivale factory was closed in 1982 as part of a major realignment of production facilities, Hoover manufacturing operations continue in the United Kingdom, Cambuslang Scotland, and Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.
1994 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee