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Melville Reuben Bissell (1843-1889)

Melville “Reuben” Bissell as a child grew up in Berlin, Wisconsin. Later as a young adult he moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan where he opened a grocery store with his father. This led Melville into the crockery business in Grand Rapids with his wife Anna. Anna became frustrated by constantly cleaning sawdust and packing crate straw off the carpets without a good way to do so. Melville searched for a solution to this and could not find a good one. He then set out developing and inventing the carpet sweeper. When friends and customers began asking where they could buy this new carpet sweeper, a new business was born. He patented this device in 1876 and started manufacturing them for sale in 1883. This revolutionized homecare by making the need for beating carpets less frequent. After a fire in 1884 destroyed his first factory, he was able to overcome the loss and expand his business. His premature death in 1889 was due to pneumonia, and following this, his wife Anna Bissell took control of the company, becoming Americas first female CEO…