Gustaf Sahlin departed Stockholm, Sweden, after negotiating the American sales rights for a strange looking vacuum cleaner manufactured by Aktiebolaget Elektrolux. The agreement also gave him the American exclusive rights to the name Electrolux. The new machine added a new dimension to cleaning, not only cleaning the floors, but furniture, drapes, etc. The company grew to over 10,000 salesmen, and quite a few salesladies as well, although their numbers, is unavailable. In 1932 the company quit importing units from Sweden, transferring production by private contract with White Sewing Machine Company. However, wanting to control their own production, in 1932 their own factory was completed in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. During World War II, with their factories exclusively producing wartime products, the Electrolux sales force marketed one of the most ingenious and successful promotions ever launched in the floor care industry. For a $25.00 deposit customers were sold certificates towards the purchase of the first new vacuums produced after the war ended. This program provided Electrolux with hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest free operating capital, gave them the jump on the entire floor care industry at the conclusion of the war and a backload of presold production. Electrolux owns numerous patents. In 1950 they introduced the “brain,” which shut off the machine when the dirt bag was full. This was followed immediately by the power nozzle that allowed the machine to clean like an upright on carpet. The company (publicly held since the mid ‘30’s) was purchased by Consolidated Foods in 1968 and then later purchased by an Electrolux internal management team.
1994 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee