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Author Topic: James Dyson built a better vacuum. Can he pull off a 2nd industrial revolution?  (Read 2118 times)

Offline MVOlga

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This is from an American newspaper called 'The New Yorker'.



It dates from 2010 but we thought it interesting.

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ANNALS OF INVENTION

How to Make It
James Dyson built a better vacuum. Can he pull off a second industrial revolution?

ABSTRACT: ANNALS OF INVENTION about James Dyson and Dyson vacuum cleaners.

In the fall of 2002, the British inventor James Dyson entered the U.S. market with an upright vacuum cleaner, the Dyson DC07. Dyson was the product’s designer, engineer, manufacturer, and pitchman.

The price was three hundred and ninety-nine dollars. Not only did the Dyson cost much more than most machines sold at retail but it was made almost entirely out of plastic. In the most perverse design decision of all, Dyson let you see the dirt as you collected it, in a clear plastic bin in the machine’s midsection.

One day in 1978, Dyson was cleaning his house when he became frustrated with the way his vacuum cleaner quickly lost suction. It was a design flaw, and yet vacuum cleaners had been made that way for a hundred years. As the brand story goes, Dyson thought about the problem, built thousands of prototypes, and finally came up with a vacuum cleaner that used centrifugal force, rather than a bag, to separate the dirt from the air.

Best Buy was the first retail chain to carry the DC07. Today, Dyson has a twenty-three-per-cent share of the market. Sir James Dyson is now known to millions as the man who made vacuum cleaners sexy again. Not only is Dyson the most celebrated British engineer of his time but he is also the unofficial technology czar of the new Conservative government. David Cameron asked him to come up with a strategy for reviving the great tradition of British engineering and invention, which flowered during the industrial revolution and has been in steep decline since the end of the Second World War.

The way forward, Dyson argues in his report, “Ingenious Britain: Making the U.K. the Leading High Tech Exporter in Europe,” is for Britain to go back to designing, engineering, and manufacturing things. Mentions Martin Wiener’s “English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit, 1850-1980.”

In the U.S., as in Britain, the percentage of citizens who became engineers has been declining for years, as the percentage of college graduates who go into marketing and financial services has grown. The James Dyson Foundation, Dyson’s philanthropic organization, is doing what it can “to inspire and nurture the design engineers of the future.” Dyson was born in Norfolk and he attended the Royal College of Art. In 1971, Dyson and his wife moved to a farm in the Cotswolds, and there he designed a new version of the wheelbarrow, called the Ballbarrow. According to his memoir, before he could market the product in the U.S. his idea was stolen by an employee and taken to a Chicago-based plastic manufacturer.

Dyson moved on to his next idea: the bagless vacuum cleaner. After testing 5,271 prototypes, and many years of trying to sell a license to his vacuum cleaner to a European or American company, he set up a manufacturing operation of his own in Britain, and the Dual Cyclone DC01 went on sale in the summer of 1993. Within only two years, the Dyson was outselling the Hoover upright in the U.K.

Dyson came to New York in June to launch his newest product, a portable fan—the Dyson Air Multiplier. The Air Multiplier has no visible blades; as air passes over the aerodynamic curve in the ring, the air pressure decreases, in accordance with the Bernoulli effect, a well-known principle in hydrofluid dynamics. Dyson has restored a sense of novelty to the oldest electronic appliance in the home. Dyson and his family (he and his wife Deirdre have three grown children and five grandchildren) are the sole owners of the business, which in 2008 was valued at $1.6 billion.

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