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The Electrolux Story

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Axel Wenner-GrenD-fridgeLuxomatic

Electrolux, a well-known Swedish appliance company, whose name is firmly entrenched in many consumers’ minds, was founded by Swedish entrepreneur, Axel Wenner-Gren. The company was first built on a consumer insight – the realisation that ordinary people needed help with cleaning their houses.

In 1908, Wenner-Gren saw a bulky vacuum cleaner in a Vienna shop window and recognised a major opportunity to modify it for domestic use. It was the beginning of a continuing series of innovative products Electrolux introduced to the consumer market.

Since then, Electrolux has achieved many milestones. Here’s the first of a two-parter on the Electrolux story.


Axel Wenner-Gren, founder of Electrolux, 1927.

1919 – Axel Wenner-Gren, a Swedish businessman, who owned the company Elektromekaniska AB, collaborated with another company, AB Lux, to produce the first electric vacuum cleaner, Lux 1, in 1912.  Three years later, Wenner-Gren set up the sales company Scenska Elektron AB. By 1919, all the companies were merged into one, and the Group’s name was changed to AB Elektrolux.

1923 – A newly formed company, AB Arctic, began producing refrigerators.


Electrolux first refrigerator the D-fridge from 1925.

1925 – Electrolux bought over AB Arctic and launched the first absorption refrigerator, the ”D-fridge”, on the world market.

1926 to 1927 – Production plants for vacuum cleaners outside Sweden opened in Berlin, Germany, Luton, England and Courbevoie, France.

1930 – The first built-in refrigerator, a compact product for the kitchenettes in the small modern apartments of that time, was launched.

1931 – The company launched the first air-cooled refrigerator, L1.

1936 – Production of vacuum cleaners began in Australia.

1940 – World War II paralysed several Electrolux plants and their subsidiary companies. The Group re-organised some of its production for employment reasons and produced air filters for the Swedish defense forces. A new product, the “Assistent” food processor was launched and became one of the Group’s biggest sellers in the succeeding years.

1944 – Electrolux bought over Bohus Mekaniska Verkstads AB in Gothenburg and made an important breakthrough in a new product area – industrial washing machines.

1948 – In Germany, operations resumed again after the war.

1951 – The first household washing machine was introduced. Vacuum cleaner production began in Oslo, Norway.

1956 – The first chest freezer was launched – sparking off a revolution in food storage.

1957 – The spelling of the Group’s name was changed from Elektrolux to Electrolux.

1959 – The first dishwasher designed by Electrolux was a benchtop model, the extremely popular “round jar”. The first combined refrigerator and freezer was produced in the town of Motala, Sweden.

Luxomatic with features such as a cord winder and a dust indicator that shows when the bag is full
Luxomatic with features such as a cord winder and a dust indicator that shows when the bag is full.

1964 – Luxomatic, the first of a new generation of vacuum cleaners with features like a cord winder, self-sealing paper dust bags and a dust indicator that showed when the bag was full, was launched.

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