Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Wardell, Fred

Fred Wardell was the founder of the Eureka Vacuum Cleaner Company. Born in Toronto, Canada on March 30, 1866, Wardell worked with his father as an auctioneer for more than twenty years before quitting in 1902 to sell vacuum cleaners. Seven years later, in 1909, Wardell went into business for himself, founding the Eureka Vacuum Cleaner Company in Detroit, Michigan, which originally only sold vacuum cleaners produced elsewhere.

In 1913, with the aid of four business partners, Wardell purchased a small factory to make Eureka brand vacuum cleaners. By 1927, the Eureka Vacuum Cleaner Company had sold more than two million vacuum cleaners, and was the second best selling brand of vacuums in the United States. Beginning in 1930, Eureka expanded its production of appliances, eventually manufacturing items such as heaters, air conditioners, and school furniture.

 After a long career with Eureka, Fred Wardell passed away in 1952 in Detroit, Michigan. He is buried in the Wardell Mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit. The Eureka Vacuum Cleaner Company changed hands several times throughout the 20th century, and eventually became a unit of the Electrolux Home Products Division in 2004. Wardell’s Eureka brand vacuum cleaners continue to be manufactured today by Electrolux.

 Written by Julia Teran

 


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