Spotlight on: Clarke Cleaning Equipment
Since its beginning, Clarke has always been an industry leader in new product development and cleaning innovation. Important company and industry milestones include the first battery powered floor scrubber in 1958 and the first carpet extractor in 1970. Today the company’s product line is well-known for its focus on durability, productivity, ergonomics, and safety.
The History of Clarke
In 1916, Alex A. Clarke invented a sanding machine designed specifically for sanding and restoring wood bar tops. The demand for Clarke’s invention grew around the Dallas area so quickly that he teamed up with a friend in Chicago to manufacture the sanders at a small machine shop. After receiving many orders from schools looking to restore their wood desks, he made the move to Chicago in 1922 to oversee the manufacturing and sales of the popular Clarke Sander.
Clarke modified the sander in the mid-20s by adding a handle so it could be used for wood floor restoration. He also decided to add a line of vacuums to make jobsite clean-up easier. By 1929, the demand for his products had surpassed the manufacturing capacity of the small Chicago plant. Clarke moved the company to the sandy lake shores of Muskegon, Michigan.
In the early 30s, the company fell on hard times and Clarke was removed as head of operations. Ernie Cooper took over and began designing new products and plans for floor polishers, vacuums, and hand tools, ultimately reaching annual sales of $4,000,000 by 1946.
Although the company has seen a change in ownership many other times throughout its history, its dominating presence in the cleaning equipment industry has never faltered. Today the company is owned by Nilkfisk, which is headquartered out of Broenby, Denmark. The vast product line continues to grow and increase efficiency in the field.