CLARKE

Created by inventor and tinkerer Alex A. Clarke in 1916, the Clarke Company began with a better, faster sanding machine for restoring wood bar tops and school desks. Clarke’s innovative sanding machine was so popular it quickly grew into a complete line of machines for floor sanding, vacuuming and cleaning.

Trusted. Reliable. Efficient. The history of Clarke.

Clarke grew steadily in the ‘20s and ‘30s, and by 1942 the company had 30 employees and $400,000 in sales. But by 1946, with the addition of floor polishers, more vacuums and hand tools, Clarke had topped $4 million.

The 1950s saw a steady stream of inventions, as Clarke developed new ways to clean and maintain floors—including the industry’s first battery-powered scrubber, a durable rental sander and the tough, all-purpose Clarke® Floor Maintainer. By decade’s end Clarke had hit $9 million in sales and had become an industry leader in commercial cleaning machines.

Clarke was so successful during this period, in fact, that it caught the attention of the fast-rising Studebaker Company, which bought the company and continued its growth through the sixties with more innovations and additions to the product line.

By 1988, Clarke was headquartered in its current home of Springdale, Arkansas with a broad portfolio of trusted, reliable cleaning equipment and other machines. And by 1996, Clarke—as part of ALTO U.S, Inc.—was one of the largest manufacturers of cleaning equipment in the world.

How can we help you?

In 2004, Nilfisk-Advance, one of the most respected manufacturers of cleaning equipment in Europe, combined operations to create a worldwide brand with the resources and innovative spirit to continue the Clarke—and Nilfisk—legacy of industry leadership.

Throughout its history, Clarke has been a leader in new product innovation and development. This entrepreneurial spirit is alive today with our focus on creating durable, long-lasting products that make cleaning easier, faster and more sustainable.

Key product milestones in the history of Clarke
1956
Introduction of the PS26/PS30 Electric, Gas and Propane Floor Scrubbers and DU-8 Rental Sander

1958
Introduction of the first battery powered floor scrubber, the Clarke-A-Matic BP 20

1959
Introduction of the Clarke® FM Floor Maintainer

1963
TB Series Automatic Scrubbers

1965
First dual motor upright vacuum cleaner, the Model 550

1969
First wide-area vacuum, the 580 SpaceVac

1970
First carpet extractor, the 903 Super Steamer

1971
Clarke produces the 1 millionth FM Floor Maintainer

1980
Leader Automatic Scrubber Series

1992
Vision Automatic Scrubber Series

1997
Encore Automatic Scrubber Series

2001
Wash & Rinse Carpet Extraction Technology

2004
Clarke® Rider Scrubber Technology with Joystick Control

2005
BOOST® Orbital Scrubbing Technology for Automatic Scrubbers

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Nilfisk is one of the world's leading manufacturers of professional cleaning equipment.

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