History of the Dyson Company

The history behind the Dyson Company is an amazing one, to say the least. It is one of those stories that came about by accident, with plenty of determination and expertise thrown in! The owner and founder of the company, James Dyson, is famous these days for inventing a bagless vacuum cleaner called the Dual Cyclone, so named, because it works on the idea of cyclonic separation.

How it all began
Dyson company was founded in Britain, way back on July 8, 1991, by James Dyson. The company designs and produces vacuum cleaners as well as several other items. Over the years, the company has increased significantly and now heads the list as one of the leaders in the industry, with thousands of clients in more than 100 countries in the world.

Who is James Dyson?
James Dyson, later to become Sir James Dyson, OM CBE RDI FREng FCSD FIEE, is a British inventor who was born in Norfolk, England on May 2, 1947. He attended Gresham’s School from 1956 to 1965, and the Byam School of art from 1965 to 1966. He then attended the Royal College of Art from 1966 to 1970, where he studied furniture and interior design, and afterward, enrolled at an engineering school.

What prompted his invention of the Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner?
James was disappointed after his vacuum cleaner that he had bought kept breaking down repeatedly after becoming clogged with dirt and lost its suction power. After taking the machine apart, he discovered that it was a layer of dirt clinging to the mesh material that was preventing the machine from working properly.

Determined to come up with a vacuum cleaner that had a better and more effective design, he visited a local sawmill, to see how their large industrial cleaners were able to eliminate sawdust from the air. James decided to give the same principle a try. He took the bag out of his vacuum cleaner and replaced it with a cyclone made from cardboard. After trying it out, he realised that his idea was way more efficient because it picked up more dust and seemed to be resistant to breaking down.

This was the birth of the “bagless” vacuum cleaner as we know it.

Overcoming the stumbling blocks
Things didn’t run as smoothly as James expected though, because large vacuum manufacturing businesses saw his invention as a threat, and made it difficult for him to find a licensee in the UK and US.

Good fortune came to James in 1993, in the form of Apex, a Japanese company, that licensed his design. Apex used his design to manufacture a vacuum cleaner called the G-force, which changed into a table – a real space-saver in the small apartments in Japan. The G-Force, in the beginning, sold for $2000 in Japan. Dyson accumulated his income and used it in 1993, to start the Dyson Company as well as a centre for research in the UK.

It took ten long years following his invention, for James to finally make a breakthrough in the British market. This came about when an advert on television stated that Dyson vacuum cleaners were unlike any other vacuums on the market because they eliminated the need to buy replacement bags. It was the slogan “say goodbye to the bag” that seemed to do the trick.

The Dyson Dual Cyclone vacuum cleaner became so popular with the public, that it ended up becoming one of the best-selling vacuum cleaners on earth!

Naturally, other companies tried to sell their own cyclonic cleaners, so the Dyson Company filed a lawsuit against them for patent infringement and won $5 million in the process.

Honours and awards
In 1996, James Dyson was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in 1997, received the Prince Phillip Designers Prize, and in 2000, received the Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran Award. That same year, he was also awarded a D. Eng degree from the University of Bath.

In 2005, he was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and in 2007, was made Knight Bachelor in New Year Honours. James Dyson has also been a Royal College of Art provost since 2011. He received his last honour in 2015 when he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

Other inventions
Although he is most famous for his bagless vacuum cleaner, James Dyson and his company are responsible for several other inventions too, such as bladeless fans, hairdryers, and heaters, among others. Yet another successful invention of his is the BallBarrow, which was triggered by his own wheelbarrow getting stuck in the mud when he was renovating his property!

Dyson Company moves to Malaysia
James decided to move his plant to Malaysia in 2002, for a variety of economic and expansion related reasons. In 2019 Dyson also announced that it will  be moving its headquarters to Singapore, from Malmesbury in Wiltshire however it will continue to invest in its UK research and engineering sites.

The Dyson Company today
What started out as one man and his idea so many years ago, has grown into an enormous technology company with more than 1000 engineers all over the world. These days, Dyson machines are marketed in more than 65 countries around the globe.

James Dyson’s determination and persistence still exists, however, with the company and its ever-growing team of scientists and engineers working continuously to come up with new ideas and inventions to add to their list of successful products.