K. C. Thompson
K.C. Thompson was once quoted to say “I think ‘selling’ is the greatest business in the world.” Some of his first direct selling experiences began when he was just a kid and included peddling apples, coat hangers, and papers.
After high school he took a job with a securities firm. During twenty odd successful years, among other things, Thompson was a director on the board of Aluminum Products Company, since a part of Reynolds Metal. His next door neighbor was president of this company which made a line of aluminum and stainless steel dinnerware sold under the dinner demonstration method. He urged Thompson to finance one or two of these direct groups. Which he did. After this experience, he decided he liked this direct sales game and looked around for some other line to replace it.
He then became associated with a new vacuum cleaner product where the company was in need of financial backing and with his experience in direct sales, became interested in manufacturing a vacuum cleaner. With the help of his neighbor, a unit was designed and a thousand units manufactured.
Due to the war, the day the vacuums were completed the War Production Board froze all electrical appliances in the hands of manufacturers. The Navy learned of this substantial group of light weight cleaners and took the entire lot for use in Marine Air Corps bases throughout the United States. With no name plates on the units the only source for inquiries about service or filters was addressed to Thompson's sales office.
K. C. decided to set up a manufacturing business for himself and his two sons when the war was over. The unit was redesigned, arrangements for tooling and materials were made and a new location set up so they would be ready when VJ day came. And so SuperVack came into being, the name of both the business and product. Later he patented the name Silver-King and the firm became Thompson and Sons, Inc.
First they introduced the Sudser which they consider to be the greatest demo in vacuum cleaner selling. They made the first electric vaporizer for use on a vacuum, the first rubber fingered lint picker, the first and only flock gun for home use, as well as many other so called ‘gimmicks.’
Stated K. C. Thompson, “We all read and hear much about the problems of the day and the prognostications of the economic and politically occult. Why scratch your ulcer worrying about the future? Any man who does all that is needed today has no time to worry about the future. Any man with a good product, rightly priced and with a good base cost, needs only one thing more, the self discipline to get out and work.”
1994 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee