The Electrolux Group was founded as a manufacturer of kerosene lamps. With the rise in popularity of electrical lighting, the company moved into researching other electrical products. In 1912, inventor Axel Wenner-Gren joined the then-named AB Lux company after working for Santo, a manufacturer of vacuum cleaners in Vienna. Taking what heâ€™d learned while working for Santo, Wenner-Gren developed the Lux 1, the first household vacuum cleaner. These vacuum cleaners were sold by demonstrations of door-to-door salesmen, which brought great success to the company.
In the mid-1920s, Electrolux bought AB Arctic, who had just recently begun production of a new absorption refrigerator, invented by Baltzar von Platen and Carl Munters. This brilliant invention would allow people to store food and keep it cool, powered by either electricity, gas, or kerosene. A similar version was later bought from Albert Einstein in the late 1930s.
Electrolux continued to primarily produce refrigerators and vacuum cleaners through the 1940s and acquired motor and engine companies along the way in order to improve their products. Ten years later, Electrolux added domestic washing machines and dishwashers to its product line. By the mid-1970s, Electrolux had become the worldâ€™s largest manufacturer of vacuum cleaners of the time.
While it obviously didnâ€™t hurt their overall sales, Electrolux suffered from a marketing feux pas with its 1960s slogan, "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux." The slogan was originally intended to market their vacuum cleaner products in Britain. While it was received innocently enough in the UK, the slogan didnâ€™t translate well when brought to the United States. While itâ€™s often regarded as a brand blunder, Electroluxâ€™s marketing team was supposedly aware of the American slang use of the word "sucks", but used it anyway in order to gain attention.