Cleaning Up with Bissell

This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.


One day Nova Scotia-born Anna Bissell asked her husband Melville to find an easier way to clean the floors of their Michigan crockery shop. The result? The world’s best-known carpet sweeper. Patented in 1876, the Bissell was soon cleaning up across the country and ultimately around the world. Even Queen Victoria once commanded that Buckingham Palace carpets be “bisselled.” When Melville died in 1889, Anna became America’s first female corporate CEO and ran the multi-million dollar Bissell Company until three years before her death in 1934.

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Janis Nostbakken