The History of Henry the Vacuum Cleaner

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Let’s be honest – Henry the vacuum is an icon. It would be difficult to show people a picture of this machine without them knowing his name. The big innocent eyes, the wide happy smile and of course the long nose! Lots of people know and love Henry. But if you had to ask them about his history, or even which company makes him, it is unlikely they would know.
Here is a brief history of this iconic machine:

Who are Numatic? -

Numatic is the company that created Henry and continue to make him and all of his extended family today. They also make various other cleaning products and machines.
Crewkerne (Somerset, England) is the birthplace of Numatic and it was founded in 1969.

How did it all begin? -

The company started off as a very small group of people who designed vacuum cleaners for boilers. During this time vacuums were made up of various domesticated products like handles from suitcases and oil drums, which was not uncommon for the time. However, the company soon outgrew these methods and local demand for their products became so high that they soon needed bigger premises.

Where did the company move to?

The company took its time to grow and moved around quite a bit before Henry was created. It’s first expansion was to Yoevil which is situated next to a river. Unfortunately the river swelled (as rivers do!) and frequently flooded the nearby factory. This is the reason Numatic give for creating cleaning machines that work with water and wet surfaces. There’s nothing like learning on the job! This is also where their first successful commercial vacuum cleaner was created. Something they still sell today.

Numatic then moved to Beaminster in Dorset where they remained for 20 years and continued to expand and grow as a market leader eventually competing on an international basis.
The company eventually moved to Chard in Somerset (where they remain today) because of an increased demand for more in house creation of parts (rather than buying from sub contractors).

When was Henry born?

Henry was created in the Beaminster Dorset factory in 1981. Since he was first put on the market over 7 million people have purchased a Henry and his popularity has not dipped since he was first introduced to the vacuum market.

Is Henry alone?

Henry is not an only child! There are now several other members of the Henry family including Hetty, James, Charles, George and Harry. All the vacuums have different variations and two models (Charles and George) are able to work with wet surfaces. George is actually fully equipped to deal with dry vacuuming and carpet cleaning too!

So there you have it – just a brief insight into the history of Henry the vacuum. Numatic continue to do well today and own many large distributors overseas. They have recently prided themselves on becoming more environmentally conscious as a company with the powersave models and an impressive environmental policy.

So luckily for us, this little vacuum will continue to be in our lives long into the foreseeable future!

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