In 2016, Nilfisk celebrates its 110 year anniversary, and in a short series of stories we plan to present highlights from the company's history books. We start off with taking a look at the innovative Nilfisk product launches through time:
The products of Nilfisk through 110 years
Nilfisk was founded in 1906 by the young Danish engineer Peder Andersen Fisker. It was a desire for knowledge and the ambition of creating a global company based on exploiting the potential of technology that drove Fisker to set up the business. In 1910, Fisker patents his first vacuum cleaner using the name based on the company’s telegram address, derived from a combination of the names of the two owners - Nilfisk. It is the first electric vacuum cleaner in Europe. The Nilfisk C1 revolutionizes cleaning and becomes the foundation stone of Nilfisk. It weighs “only” 17.5 kilos and could be handled by one person – which was groundbreaking at the time.
The development from the oldest to the new Nilfisk consumer vacs. From the left: Nilfisk C1, “The Silent Dane”, G70, GM200 and Nilfisk Select.
The invention of the electric domestic vacuum cleaner makes life easier for many people, who previously had to sweep the floors, and Nilfisk vacuum cleaners are in great demand at home and abroad. Fisker quickly realizes that since the Danish market is limited, export marketing has to be properly organized, and this he achieves as early as 1911. That same year, export accounts for half of total production. In 1954, the total number of Nilfisk vacuum cleaners produced passes the million mark. Most of them are still in use at this time, which speaks volumes for their quality.
In 1919, Nilfisk adds the “Nimbus” motorcycle to the portfolio. The launch of the motorcycle is a reaction to the hard times for electrical appliances during the First World War; Fisker does not dare to rely on vacuum cleaners only. The design of the Nimbus bike is a revolution, just as the first vacuum was.
The production of motorcycles supported the company during difficult times – however, in 1959, Nilfisk decided to solely focus on the production of cleaning equipment
Luckily, the production and sales of vacuum cleaners recover, and in the 1940s, Nilfisk develops the first industrial vacuum. This was followed by the first washer/scrubber in the 50s and the first wet/dry vac in the 1960s. Things are now looking much better in the 60s, and the production of motorcycles is ceased to focus solely on cleaning equipment.
Beyond the vacuum
In the 1950s, the product range is expanded by a washer/scrubber machine, an addition proving that Nilfisk was determined to stun the cleaning market again with its innovative spirit. Initially, the machine was exclusively for sale on the export markets. It had actually been ready for several years but the raw materials needed for its production had only just become available.
The washer/scrubber made it easy for professionals to clean large surfaces. And since its launch, Nilfisk’s knowledge of cleaning has been channeled into new innovations that have made cleaning safer and more productive.
The first scrubber and wet&dry vac from Nilfisk were launched 10 years apart in 1950 and 1960.
In the late 1980s, the company became part of the NKT Group and we took an active role in the consolidation of the industry by engaging in numerous acquisitions in the following decades. The Nilfisk family grew bigger and so did our product portfolio. With the many new family members, Nilfisk expanded its product range to include all possible floorcare machines, vacuum cleaners and high pressure washers, adding skills and know-how to our continuous product development.
Today, Nilfisk has one of the broadest product portfolios in the industry including best-in-class specialized industrial vacuum cleaners, multifunctional outdoor machines, best allergy friendly vacuum cleaners, award-winning floorcare equipment, hard surface cleaning machines, patented pumps and motors, innovative pressure cleaners... and we could go on.
Probably the most iconic Nilfisk vac of all time, the G70, was launched in 1958.