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Earle A. Mueller
Co-founder, Universal Armature
D.O.B. unknown — 1961

Earle A. MuellerEarle A. Mueller started working in the vacuum industry parttime in the mid-1920’s while attending Western Reserve College in Cleveland.

Mr. Mueller first worked for the Electric Vacuum Cleaner Company on Superior Avenue. This company was owned by General Electric, marketing their vacuums, built in Cleveland, under both the General Electric and Premier Electric names. Mueller worked his way up to a full-time position in the sales and promotion department of Premier.

Louis Pearsol, who founded Electric Sweeper Service Company in 1924, hired Mueller to manage the company in 1934. Pearsol and Mueller coauthored a vacuum cleaner service manual in 1937 that explained how to fix the vacuums of the era, sell service, price repairs and advise what shop equipment was needed to get into the business.

Pearsol and Mueller cofounded Universal Armature, which operated upstairs from the Euclid Avenue location of Electric Sweeper. Universal Armature was formed to rewind armatures for vacuums and other appliances because most manufacturers would not sell to the wholesalers. There was already a thriving business of rebuilding Hoover, Royal and Kirby vacuums.

Mueller was instrumental in manufacturing parts for the budding vacuum industry. Early innovations included an adapter kit to change Lux sleeve bearing motors to ball bearings, perhaps the industry’s first swivel neck rug tool, and a replacement Lux XXX switch, using a common step-on switch placed in a specially tooled housing. Mueller also manufactured a full line of cord protectors for small appliances. In the ‘50’s he pioneered the way belts were made by trying new manufacturing techniques. Mueller was also a pioneer in radio and magazine advertising with a campaign to supply households with a “year’s supply of paper bags.”

Earle Mueller was known as “Mr. Nice Guy,” well-liked by all who dealt with him. He was a charter member and former president of NASA (National Appliance Service Association) and continued to be a force in the industry until his death in 1961.

1994 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee