Walter W. Sobelman
Walter W. Sobelman has been part of the vacuum cleaner industry virtually all of his life. Born on Sept. 7, 1927, Walter worked in his father’s appliance store by the time he was 12 years old repairing appliances and vacuum cleaners. When he was 15 years old, and the supply of new vacuum cleaners ceased to exist because of the second world war effort, Walter set up a rebuilding shop in the basement of his father’s store and created rebuilts for the retail market.
Returning home from his Navy service in 1946, Walter took on the General Electric factory warranty service for vacuum cleaners and began developing a full service vacuum cleaner business. By 1953, Walter’s father had retired from the business, and Walter moved to Great Neck, NY, where he set up a shop dedicated exclusively to the sales and service of vacuum cleaners.
Walter’s new enterprise stressed service, and it became the factory service facility for General Electric, Hoover, Sunbeam, Eureka, and a number of other companies. For many years, he was the exclusive factory warranty dealer for The Hoover Company for Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York. In 1956, with the Great Neck store firmly established in the region, Walter branched out, eventually opening seven stores.
In the 1960s, Walter took on the challenge of manufacturing a new line of vacuum cleaners. With the help of Joe Loomis and others, he established Republic Precision Corp. RPC manufactured the Anser vacuum cleaner for the general industry, the Carpet Master for the sanitary maintenance field and private label machines for several companies.
Walter served for 30 years as chairman of the Board of Assessment and Review for the city of Glen Cove, NY. He also served on the Charter Commission, helping to rewrite and modernize Glen Cove city government, and he served on the Land Use Committee, working to improve the environment of Glen Cove.
1998 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee