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Industry carpet cleaning
Fate Milwaukee and Sheboygan Wisconsin are currently operating
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois, United States, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Key people
Wilbur Gage, Jim Williams, Burt Corbett, David E. Schopf
Products Rug Cleaning, Rug Repair, Carpet, Tile, Upholstery Cleaning

Magikist was a U.S.-based rug cleaner manufacturer and cleaning company. After the company went out of business in 2001, the name was sold and is currently used by a Canadian manufacturer of car wash equipment. The original company was notable for its large advertising signs which were a part of pop culture in the Chicago area.


Magikist was founded in the 1940s by Wilbur "Bill" Gage, who changed the name of his Austin Rug Cleaners to Magikist, melding the words "magic" and "kissed."[1] His wife at the time, Doris Greenwood, suggested the "sweetest name in rug cleaning" slogan and came up with the now famous lips. Subsequently, Gage operated Magikist in the Chicago area South of Howard and Lionel and Shirley Gelfand operated Magikist in the area North of Howard Street. In the Chicago area, the Magikist Lips (in the form of huge signs on the Edens Expressway, Dan Ryan Expressway, Kennedy Expressway,[2] and Eisenhower Expressway which lit up and flashed) were well-known landmarks. Chicago journalist Eric Zorn wrote a piece about the Edens sign (the last existing) after it was torn down in 2004.[3]

Built in the early 1960s, the Magikist lips signs on the Kennedy, Eisenhower and Dan Ryan expressways were 75 feet wide and 40 feet high at the pucker. Travelers from the early 1960s through the late 1990s, when the company moved and the signs 3,384 feet of neon lighting were shut off (and eventually demolished), tended to use them as landmarks to figure out how much longer it would take to arrive at their destination.[4]

Chicago musician/artist Wesley Willis frequently mentioned Magikist in his song lyrics,[5] although he used the word as a term of high praise, akin to "magician".

Magikist also began operations in the Milwaukee area in 1944. Magikist was franchised to a certain Al Rikel who operated the business under the name "Metro Magikist". It was located on 1844 West Fond Du Lac Avenue, just outside of downtown Milwaukee. When Rikel was ready to retire, John Andes, a neighborhood boy who worked with Rikel for many years, decided he would over the rug cleaning business. Andes continued the legacy of the company for many years. In late 2008, Dave Schopf, a second generation carpet cleaner, purchased the company from John Andes and renamed the business to "Dave's Magikist". Dave's Magikist has plans to bring back the iconic brand to the Windy City in 2015.[citation needed]



  1. ^ Cordts, Michael. "Wilbur `Bill' Gage; founded Magikist, adopted `lips' logo." Chicago Sun-Times July 11, 1987
  2. ^ "Magikist lips". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Zorn, Eric. "Magikist lips gave Chicago reason to smile." The Chicago Tribune January 29, 2004
  4. ^ Zorn, Eric. "Magikist lips gave Chicago reason to smile." The Chicago Tribune January 29, 2004
  5. ^ Staff. "Wesley Willis discusses his career, demons." The Tartan October 21, 2002

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