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The Best of the Best 2003: Appliances - Dyson DC07

Ken Kessler

As a boy growing up in England, James Dyson’s fascination with vacuum cleaners began with the high-pitched scream of the motor and the odor of dust that permeated the room. His life’s work, to reinvent the hardworking appliance, came out of simple frustration. “I found it easier to bend down and pick up the dog hairs myself. That’s when I realized something was wrong.”

What he discovered from analyzing the mechanics of traditional vacuums is that the problem was all in the bag. “I learned that the bag full indicator was actually a bag clogged indicator,” says the London-based Dyson. To solve the problem, he spent time in a lumberyard studying the industrial cyclonic machines, which collect wood chips for hours without clogging. He says he saw the process as a challenge “to take an unloved, badly performing object and not only make it work better, but also make it look sexy.”

The Dyson DC07 ($400) became available in the United States for the first time last November. There are no bags or filters hampering suction, and its inventor thoughtfully incorporated a washable bacteria-killing screen in his latest model to trap even higher levels of microscopic dust and aid allergy sufferers.

As to the see-through look: “Researchers said we were mad, that people don’t want to see the dirt,” says Dyson. “But as engineers, we needed to see what was going on. And, as it turned out, everyone else does, too.”

Dyson, 866.693.9766, www.dyson.com

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