David Oreck

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David Oreck
Oreck in 2008
David Irving Oreck

(1923-09-17)September 17, 1923
DiedFebruary 15, 2023(2023-02-15) (aged 99)
Occupation(s)Businessman, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
Children3, including Bruce

David Irving Oreck (September 17, 1923 – February 15, 2023) was an American entrepreneur, business salesman, and speaker. He founded Oreck Corporation, manufacturers of vacuum cleaners and air purifiers, and was known for his appearances in its television commercials.[2]

Early life[edit]

Oreck was born on September 17, 1923, in Duluth, Minnesota,[2] to Jewish parents Abraham and Sheba Oreck (née Polinsky).[3] He attended the University of Minnesota Duluth. When he was a child, his father took him on a flight in a Ford Trimotor and, on the ice of Lake Superior, the aircraft landed on skis. The experience proved so exciting to Oreck that he became fascinated with planes, and the mechanics of engines and electronics.[2][4]

Shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Oreck joined the United States Army Air Corps and served as pilot, navigator, and bombardier in the Pacific Theater for over two years. He participated in bombing missions over Japan in B-29s.[2]


Following World War II, Oreck joined RCA in New York, working there for 17 years and becoming sales manager. He helped to market washing machines, microwave ovens and televisions. Oreck accompanied RCA General Manager David Sarnoff at congressional hearings to develop standards for color television broadcasts.[2]

Whilst employed by RCA, Oreck ran his own aircraft charter service, frequently stepping in as pilot. He established businesses providing shared television aerials for apartment buildings in New York City, and teaching radio and television repair in Spanish by direct mail.[2]

Oreck Corporation[edit]

Oreck was asked to take over a failing RCA distributor in New Orleans. It came with the abandoned design for an upright vacuum cleaner by Whirlpool, a business RCA had a shareholding in. However, Whirlpool's largest customer, Sears was concerned the arrangement would compete with them so in 1963, Oreck and his brother Marshall set up Oreck Corporation to independently sell his own vacuum cleaners by mail order.[5] By 1965, the firm was also the exclusive wholesaler for RCA products in Louisiana. His 8 pounds (3.6 kg) appliance was a third the weight of other machines available. Competitors used this to criticize Oreck's vacuum cleaner's effectiveness and durability. Oreck decided to first market to hotels where lightweight would be a selling point.[6][2][7]

Over 50,000 hotels worldwide adopted the US manufactured vacuum cleaner, that was light enough to carry between floors, and domestic consumers went on to purchase them, often through the floor care centers Oreck established across the country.[7][6]

Oreck explained, he had "a good idea, a lot of energy, and no money" but "it took 20 years of hard work to begin to succeed".[2]

The Oreck family sold their vacuum cleaner business to private equity investors in 2003, initially American Securities Capital Partners. Ten years later, following Chapter 11 bankruptcy it was purchased by Techtronic Industries.[8][9][10][11]

Later years[edit]

Oreck remained active in aviation, maintaining and flying his personal collection of aircraft, which included a Stinson Reliant SR 10J, a Waco WMF, an Aviat Husky Amphibian, an American Champion Decathlon, a Staggerwing Beech G-17S, and a Beech T-34A Mentor.[12]

Oreck spoke at universities around the U.S., seeking to inspire young entrepreneurs and businesspeople.[13] He told his audiences "[You can] see I'm no genius. I didn't get started until I was 40. I did it. You can do it. Only in America could this happen."[12]

David Oreck founded Oreck Pure Air Candles in 2009.[14]

Personal life and death[edit]

Oreck had a wife, Jan; three adult children (Steven, Tom, and Bruce) from his previous marriage to Paula Sarnoff (niece of David Sarnoff), and seven grandchildren. [15][6][1]

Oreck died on February 15, 2023, at his home in Mississippi. He was 99.[16][17]


Oreck and his family have donated money and specimens to mineralogical museums and exhibitions including the Denver Museum of Nature and Science; the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, and Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems.[18][19][20]

The Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans have credited Oreck and his family as major contributors to their Jewish community, and New Orleans as a whole.[21]

Oreck made significant contributions to the Isidore Newman School in New Orleans.[citation needed]


  • From Dust to Diamonds, 2013. TAG, Amarillo ISBN 978-1934606438[22]


  1. ^ a b LeMaster, C J; Burks, Bob (September 23, 2014). "David Oreck: Still keeping busy at age 91". WLBT. Archived from the original on August 8, 2022. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Scripps, Howard (February 24, 2006). "At 82, David Oreck Never Gives Up". Back Channel Media. Archived from the original on April 11, 2008.
  3. ^ "Marshall Oreck Obituary (2021) - New Orleans, LA - The Times-Picayune". Legacy.com.
  4. ^ "Old Newspaper Articles". www.garon.us. Archived from the original on January 16, 2022. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  5. ^ "Marshall Oreck, New Orleans resident and 1 of 2 brothers behind Oreck vacuums, dies | News | nola.com". www.nola.com.
  6. ^ a b c "Family Business Legend David Oreck | Founder of Oreck Corp". Family Business. Archived from the original on August 8, 2022. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  7. ^ a b "eSpeakers Marketplace". www.espeakers.com. Archived from the original on August 8, 2022. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  8. ^ Thomas, Andrew R; Wilkinson, Timothy J (2015). The Customer Trap: How to Avoid the Biggest Mistake in Business. New York: Apress. ISBN 978-1484203866.
  9. ^ "Oreck Family Offers $22M for Vacuum Company". American Bankruptcy Institute. 2013. Archived from the original on August 11, 2022. Retrieved August 11, 2022.
  10. ^ III, G. Chambers Williams (July 9, 2013). "Hoover parent snaps up Oreck at auction". USA TODAY. Archived from the original on November 15, 2016. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  11. ^ Care, TTI Floor (July 16, 2013). "TTI Statement on Acquisition of Oreck". www.prnewswire.com. Archived from the original on May 15, 2017. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  12. ^ a b Kovacevich, Patty. "Airport Journals". Airport Journals. Archived from the original on September 5, 2006.
  13. ^ "Pace University – Lubin School of Business – Entrepreneur in Residence". Pace University. Archived from the original on April 15, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2008.
  14. ^ "About US". Oreck Pure Air Candles. Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  15. ^ Traubman, Len (1994), The Oreckovsky Family:From Russia to America, Oreck Foundation, p. 245, ISBN 1-881529-05-3
  16. ^ writer, STEPHANIE RIEGEL | Staff (February 16, 2023). "David Oreck, founder of vacuum company and World War II aviator, dead at 99". NOLA.com.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ "DAVID ORECK Obituary (2023) - New Orleans, LA - New York Times". Legacy.com.
  18. ^ Jackson, M A; Momich, Betsy (2005). "Hillman Hall of Minerals & Gems, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year..." Carnegie Online. Archived from the original on August 8, 2022. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  19. ^ Slagle, Jake (September 24, 2014). "A Privileged Visit to the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum". Archived from the original on August 8, 2022. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  20. ^ "Long Term Collection Research Plan" (PDF). Denver Museum of Natural Sciences. 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 5, 2022. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
  21. ^ Luxner, Larry (July 13, 2006). "As dust of storm settles, Oreck vacuum firm still cleaning up". Jweekly.com. Archived from the original on May 5, 2016. Retrieved October 6, 2011.
  22. ^ From Dust to Diamonds. ASIN 193460643X.

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