William H. Hoover

From Ohio History Central

William H. Hoover was born in 1849. As a young man, he became involved with his father and grandfather’s tanning business. By 1875, he expanded the family tanning business to include making leather goods. In 1908, Hoover purchased James Murray Spangler’s patent for an electric suction sweeper which became known as the Hoover vacuum cleaner.

William “Boss” Hoover became president of The Electric Suction Sweeper Company, where many improvements were made to the design of the vacuum cleaner and new sales strategies began. In an early ad, customers were offered a free ten-day trial to test the vacuum cleaner. Hoover set up agreements with stores to take the cleaner to interested customers for a demonstration, and stores received commission on sales, thus establishing dealerships. In 1922 when his son H.W. became the company’s president, he renamed it The Hoover Company, and headquarters remained in North Canton, Ohio. Hoover’s innovative marketing technique and vacuum efficiency made The Hoover Company the largest vacuum cleaner manufacturer in the world. In addition, the company continued to develop innovative designs and additional attachments that made the vacuum cleaner even more appealing to consumers.

Hoover did not concentrate his business interests solely on the United States during this era. He opened a factory in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in 1911 and another in Hamilton, Canada, in 1919, from which cleaners were shipped to England and sales there flourished. Headquarters were established in Perivale, England, in 1932. To this day, many people in England refer to vacuuming as "hoovering.”

William Hoover died in 1932, but his company continued to prosper. During World War II, the Hoover Company switched its production from vacuum cleaners to items needed for the American war effort, such as helmet liners and bomb fuses. Hoover won numerous government awards for its contributions to the nation's war production. Once the war ended, the company returned to producing vacuum cleaners. In the 1940s, the company went from being privately owned to a publicly traded stock. In 1985, the Chicago Pacific Corporation purchased The Hoover Company. The Maytag Corporation subsequently acquired the Chicago Pacific Corporation in 1989. Maytag was eventually acquired by Whirlpool who sold the Hoover floor care line to Techtronic Industries (TTI) in 2007. TTI continues to produce Hoover products with the worldly-recognized red circle logo.



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