Think of the first big names in European industrialization - Daimler, Zeppelin, Bosch, etc. The name Karcher has to figure into this list, as well, since it was a young Alfred Karcher who, in the 1930s began creating some of the most innovative technologies in home cleaning appliances.
The firm was founded in 1935 and was initially focused on industrial processes. By 1939, however, the emphasis had shifted to heating units. Following World War II, Karcher was working on "products for the most urgent of daily needs" and began making efficient furnaces, tractors, handcarts, and more. He remained in Germany, establishing himself in the Wurttemberg area.
It was in 1950 that his greatest breakthrough came, and he designed the first European hot water pressure washer (the DS 350 Steam Blaster). This was such an innovation that its heating unit remains the model around which all contemporary systems are built today.
Sadly, Karcher would not live many years beyond this great discovery and died in 1959. His family carried on the development of his firm, however. As quickly as the early 1960s, Karcher had subsidiaries in many parts of the world, and by the turn of the century was found in more than 40 countries. Emphasizing quality, it established more than 40k service centers in over 190 countries, as well, and this contributed to a solid customer base in most corners of the world.
Today, it is a leader in cleaning systems with a vision of being the "world's leading provider of cleaning systems, cleaning products and services for recreation, household, trade and industry...enable our customers to solve their cleaning tasks in an economical and environmentally-friendly manner." (Karcher, 2014)
Many satisfied customers around the globe recognize the trademark "Karcher yellow" used for the housings on the many different appliances. These machines are meant for home, garden, car, and professional applications. They include pressure washers, cordless brooms, cleaning agents, window cleaning devices, steam cleaners, vacuums, air blowers, and even scrubber driers and sweepers.
Additionally, their list of official brands includes:
* Century 400
* Water Maze
This diversity of brands demonstrates that the emphasis is not limited exclusively to that original steam cleaning technology, but extends well beyond. For example, in the calendar year 2013 the firm applied for 50 new patents and actually reached more than 500 patents in that same year.
However, according to the company's records, around 90% of the 500 patents currently held by Karcher are less than five years old. This indicates that the firm is currently experiencing massive growth and market expansion. This is good news since the firm's emphasis is on environmentally friendly systems.
Additionally, many of the charitable and social organizations that the company supports reveal a desire to nurture healthier environments - and often through water usage. For example, the firm supports:
* SOS Children's Villages
* UN Global Compact Network
* Global Nature Fund (with whom they built a wetland that cleans waste water for an entire town in Colombia)
* Preservation organizations that cleaned contamination from the London Eye and Grand Cascade in the Nymphenburg Palace grounds in Munich
Their interests in preservation and the environment can also be seen in some of the latest products to enter the market. For example, theirs was the very first robotic vacuum in 2003. They also have put a lot of energy into garden watering assemblies. They also have performed ongoing research into the creation of systems for cleaning delicate surfaces. The travertine columns of the famous St. Peter's Square in Rome were restored using a Karcher exclusive system. Since 2008 they have also enhanced the market for pressure washers by the introduction of some of the quietest systems available, and some with hybrid technologies.
Today, the Karcher firm (which is still a family owned company) has many of the same guiding principles that it had in the 1930s when it began. Its products emphasize "cleaning systems, cleaning products and services for recreation, household, trade and industry with an optimum price-performance ratio. "It places an emphasis on strong customer service, it holds employees in high value, it considers innovation a key, and it believes that social and financial responsibility are essentials.
Karcher. Mission and Vision. Karcher. 2014.