Melville Reuben Bissell

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Melville Reuben Bissell (September 25, 1843 – March 15, 1889) was an American entrepreneur and inventor of the carpet sweeper.[1] The Bissell corporation is named after him.

Life and career[edit]

Bissell was born in Hartwick, New York and grew up in Berlin, Wisconsin. As a young adult, he opened a grocery store with his father in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He made money manufacturing crockery and investing in real estate.

Following the Panic of 1873, Bissell began working on a carpet sweeper. In 1876 Bissell patented a sweeper with a central brush, rubber wheels, and other improvements on vacuum technology. A fire in 1884 destroyed his first factory, but he was able to overcome the loss and expand his business.

Following his death from pneumonia, his wife Anna Bissell took control of the company, becoming America's first female corporate Chief Executive Officer.[2]


  1. ^ Baxter, Albert (1891). History of the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Munsell
  2. ^ Krismann, Carol (2005). Anna Bissell, In Encyclopedia Of American Women In Business: From Colonial Times To The Present, Volume 1. Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 9780313333835

External links[edit]