The name Electrolux in the USA has been associated with long, narrow vacuum cleaners sold by in-home demonstrations for many years. However, the Electrolux vacuums and appliances seen in stores today are produced by a completely different company. While the "Sanitaire" vacuums that we sell have outstanding performance and durability, the Electrolux vacuum cleaners in most stores are quite different, being made in China or Hungary.
The original company that manufactured Electrolux vacuums started in Sweden as AB Lux over a century ago in 1901. Currently know as The Electrolux Group (or AB Electrolux), their brand name transitioned through various forms until 1957 when they made the Electrolux name standard throughout the world. Production of Electrolux vacuums in the USA started in Old Greenwich, Connecticut way back in 1931, establishing their operations here as the Electrolux Corporation, USA.
The year 1968 marks an important date in the history of the Electrolux name in North America. That year the minority interest (39%) in Electrolux Corporation, USA, was sold to Consolidated Foods, including the exclusive rights to the Electrolux brand name in North America. For over 35 years these vacuums were manufactured and marketed in the USA by this company although its ownership has changed in more recent years. In November of 2003 the right to use the Electrolux brand name in North America was sold to The Electrolux Group in Sweden, from whence it had come decades earlier.
As a result of the right to use the Electrolux brand name being sold, the company which is so well know in the USA for its Electrolux vacuums has changed its name to Aerus LLC and is marketing its products under the Aerus brand name. Under the agreement, their products were permitted to be known as "Aerus by Electrolux" until April 1, 2004. Also, The Electrolux Group in Sweden was able to start importing and distribution their Electrolux vacuum cleaners through their new USA subsidiary, Electrolux Home Care Products North America. One limitation on the distribution of their Electrolux brand vacuums in the USA existed until June 1, 2008. They were not permitted to use "by Electrolux" as part of the brand name on vacuums sold through vacuum cleaner specialty stores. For a few years after that limitation expired they branded their light blue canister, upright and broom vacuums as "Precision by Electrolux". Although history now, these light blue vacuums were basically the same as the red Electrolux vacuums that were sold in some department and home supply stores.
April 1, 2004 is quite important as well for Electrolux since it is the date that The Eureka Company merged into a newly formed Electrolux Home Care Products North America (Electrolux Home Care Products Ltd). This new company name reflected who The Eureka Company had been for the past 30 years, a subsidiary of The Electrolux Group in Sweden. Electrolux continued to manufacture products under the Eureka name until December, 2016 when they divested the Eureka Brand to Midea Group Co., Ltd. (See Announcement) There is a website dedicated to Eureka products at www.Eureka.com.
The Eureka name has been around for many years as well. This vacuum cleaner company was founded by Fred Wardell in Detroit, Michigan in 1909. In 1913 they were making six different Eureka vacuum models which were lighter weight with special attachments to provide more user friendly cleaning. By 1927 they were selling one-third of all vacuum cleaners produced in the USA. In 1945 they merged with Williams Oil-O-Matic in Bloomington, Illinois and changed their name to Eureka-Williams, the name by which it would be known for almost thirty years. AB Electrolux of Sweden purchased the Eureka-Williams Company in 1974, changing its name to The Eureka Company, the name which continued until April of 2004 when it was merged into Electrolux Home Care Products North America. In addition to manufacturing and marketing the Eureka brand products, this company developed their red Sanitaire Commercial Vacuums and similar dark blue Sanitaire Professional Vacuums. Both series are well known for their high performance and durability. The Sanitaire brand was not divested with the Eureka brand in 2016 although it was sold to Bissell, Inc. in August 2018.
Frigidaire ties closely with the Electrolux brand name as well. Founded as the Guardian Refrigerator Company in Indiana, it created its first self-contained refrigerator in 1916. The Frigidaire name started to be used in 1919. Over the next sixty years it transitioned as a division of a few companies until being purchased by White Sewing Machine Company in 1979. When The Electrolux Group purchased that company in 1986 it became a sister brand to Eureka, Sanitaire and Beam. It, along with its sister brands, merged into Electrolux Home Care Products North America in 2004. Like the Eureka and Sanitaire brands, Electrolux continued to market appliances under the Frigidaire brand as well as the Electrolux brand. That is why you will see Electrolux refrigerators, ranges, etc. in appliance stores along with Electrolux vacuum cleaners.
The Sanitaire by Electrolux, and Professional by Electrolux vacuums and related products will continue as upscale products marketed through janitorial supply stores and vacuum cleaner specialty stores like Ristenbatt Vacuum. Electrolux brand vacuums and other products will also be upscale but marketed through select stores that have "sales assist" personnel. Beam brand products will continue as Beam Electrolux and Electrolux Central Vacuum Systems. As for Aerus, they continue to manufacture and sell the former Electrolux products for which they are so well known here in the USA, but with the Aerus name instead of the familiar Electrolux name.
In a nutshell, two companies formerly known as The Eureka Company and Electrolux Corporation, USA have undergone name changes and transitions, enabling them to continue to prosper into the future. For a number of years the The Electrolux Group in Sweden imported some canister vacuums made in Hungary into the USA with the Eureka, Sanitaire and Precision brand names. However, now you will only see these products with the Electrolux name on them. The change in usage of the Electrolux brand name has mislead a lot of people regarding who's products they are purchasing. We hope that this page has been helpful in sorting out the details of this confusing issue.
See also About Electrolux, Electrolux History, Electrolux Celebrates 100 Years and Eureka Company Background for information about The Electrolux Group in Sweden. The website at About Aerus - Product History provides information on the company that we have known for many years as Electrolux.