The Complete History Of ActivePure Technologies: Our Century Of Innovation

A woman holding a vacuum with one finger, this image came from an old advertisement from Electrolux stating it was the world’s lightest weight heavy duty vacuum cleaner.

ActivePure Technologies has evolved continuously since 1924, operating under several different names across North America. Before ActivePure, there was Aerus Holdings. Before Aerus, there was Electrolux USA. And before there was Electrolux USA, three Swedish innovators formed an extraordinary partnership.

One thing has remained true throughout our history: we have always been a company on the cutting edge of technological development with a mission of making indoor spaces better. Scroll through the visual timeline below to explore our history of innovation:

Prehistory: 1910-1917

Engineer Sven Carlstedt founds Aktiebolaget Elektromekaniska (later named Electrolux) to design and manufacture home vacuum cleaners, often in collaboration with lighting company AB Lux (founded previously in 1901). AB Lux trusts their international vacuum sales to a young marketing genius named Axel Wenner-Gren, who delivers on his seemingly impossible boast of 500 sales in the first year. Wenner-Gren founds his own company—Svenska Elektron AB—for demonstrating vacuum cleaners via home visits, allowing homeowners to try the vacuum cleaners on their own floors. The three companies (Elektron, Electrolux, and Lux) form an exclusive (and somewhat complicated) partnership which lasts for the rest of the century. A vintage European Electrolux Shop
Prehistory: 1910-1917

1921

Sven Carlstedt develops the characteristic metal runners at the bottom of the Electrolux vacuum’s canister, further increasing the device’s portability. A Model V Vacuum
1921

1924

Our first year! Gustaf Sahlin, a Swedish immigrant, brings Electrolux to America as a subsidiary of the European Electrolux. Over the next decade, Electrolux becomes a household name as Americans embrace its distinctive canister design and long-lasting quality. A collage of Electrolux logos over the decades.
1924

1926

The European Electrolux develops a disinfecting filter in its model XI filter bag. This may have been Electrolux’s first dabbling into air purification. A Model XI Vacuum
1926

1933

Electrolux opens its first American factory in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. According to the Greenwich Historical Society: “In addition to manufacturing, product testing, research and development were conducted at the plant. Innovations developed there included the automatic cord winder, a self-sealing dirt bag, and a power nozzle to beat debris out of carpets.” Modern day Greenwich, CT (Image credit: getty / DenisTangneyJr)
1933

1937

Designer Lurelle Guild develops the Model XXX vacuum cleaner for Electrolux. It remains popular until 1954. The Model XXX is eventually inducted into the Smithsonian Museum as one of the top 100 American products ever designed. A Model XXX Vacuum
1937

1944

The Old Greenwich plant is awarded the right to fly an Army-Navy pennant above the facility in recognition of its contributions to electric motors and other components during World War II. Factory workers during World War II (Note: not the Electrolux factory) (Image Credit: Getty / George Marks)
1944

1968

Consolidated Foods Corporation (later known as Sara Lee) acquires rights to Electrolux North America (USA & Canada). Electrolux USA’s history largely diverges from the history of its European counterpart for the remainder of the century. Model 1205 c.1968
1968

1985

The Electrolux factory in Old Greenwich is closed due to a lack of automation infrastructure and rising costs. The workers are given six months’ notice and assistance in finding new work. Seventy percent have comparable jobs within two months of closing. Electrolux invests millions into cutting-edge automation for its 15-year-old Bristol, Virginia facility, consolidating manufacturing there. The Bristol building c. 2019
1985

1989

Electrolux USA expands into water purification, creating the brand Purelux. One of our water treatment systems c.2008
1989

1990

The Wisconsin Center for Space Automation and Robotics (WCSAR) works with the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center to solve the problem of ethylene build-up on space shuttles. Ethylene is a volatile organic compound (VOC) produced by plants. The ethylene from spacefaring agricultural experiments has no way of dissipating in the enclosed environment, requiring a high-tech solution. Under the leadership of Dr. Marc Anderson, the team develops a device known as the ethylene scrubber (based on titanium dioxide photocatalytic oxidation or PCO) to break down the VOC. The ethylene scrubber is first used on the space shuttle Columbia in 1995. Indoor hydroponic garden utterly unlike the potato gardens aboard Columbia in 1995. (Image credit: Getty / AzmanJaka)
1990

1998-2000

A group led by Joe Urso purchases Electrolux North America. Urso—a relative of factory workers who labored in Electrolux’s Greenwich plant decades earlier—becomes the new CEO. Looking to rebrand the company, he sells rights to the Electrolux name back to the Electrolux Group of Sweden and changes the company’s name to Aerus Holdings, LLC. Though the new company continues to sell high-quality HEPA vacuum cleaners to this day, it expands its focus to other healthy home products, especially air purification. Joe Urso “[directs] Aerus to work towards developing technology that [will] lead the market” in this regard. The Aerus headquarters sign c. 2013.
1998-2000

2001-2003

The company converts its brick-and-mortar locations to independently owned franchises, granting Aerus managers control over their own destiny and prosperity. Aerus corporate shifts its focus to product development and manufacturing. An Aerus franchise c. 2019
2001-2003

2004

Aerus releases its first PCO-based air purifier by adding a titanium dioxide coating and UV light to a HEPA filter. Lux Guardian Air c. 2004.
2004

2008

Aerus acquires the assets of network marketing company EcoQuest, along with a more targeted update of PCO technology known as Radiant Catalytic Ionization (RCI). Aerus hands this technology to their research team to perfect. The research team continues to deliver improved versions of this technology over the next eight years. Ecoquest continues to focus on the network marketing of portable home technology and other products; it is renamed Vollara. ActivTek’s web page from the early aughts. EcoQuest sold RCI units under the ActivTek brand.
2008

2009

The company hears about a revolutionary water technology developed by the Taiwanese company Yi Shan. This Direct Disk Technology, changes the pH balance of water right from the sink without the need for bulky equipment. Aerus and Vollara enter an exclusive partnership with Yi Shan in order to bring this technology to households around the world. The Elevate pHMax—one Aerus product which contains Direct Disk Technology.
2009

2011

Aerus begins the Aerus Enterprise Solutions (AES) program, which partners with HVAC wholesale professionals and HVAC contractors throughout the USA. AES modifies the voltage requirements of its induct unit so that it operates on only 24 volts (and thus can be installed without a professional electrician). The Air Scrubber by Aerus is born. (The high-voltage ActivTek units remain available for commercial needs). Image of an Air Scrubber’s front label c. 2017
2011

2015

The Aliso Canyon gas well in the San Fernando Valley springs a leak. The pressure is so great from the natural gas inside the well, that multiple attempts to plug the leak failed. While the gas itself is dispersing into the atmosphere, the mercaptan (a VOC added to natural gas which gives its distinctive smell) begins rolling down the valley into the neighboring community of Porter Ranch. Aerus is informed of the leak before Thanksgiving. Knowing its technology can break down the mercaptan, it immediately ramps up the production of the Air Scrubber. Working closely with the gas company and the California Air Resource Board, Aerus sends 10,000 units to the San Fernando Valley to assist residents in removing the odor from their homes. Also in 2015, Aerus enters the B2C eCommerce world by acquiring AllergyBuyersClub.com as part of its mission to create better indoor spaces. Porter Ranch, CA (Image credit Getty / trekandshoot)
2015

2017

Aerus’s research team (led by Andrew Eide) delivers a new patented ActivePure cell design which is much more efficient and targeted than the original RCI design. CEO Joseph Urso, VP of Product Development & Manufacturing Andrew Eide, and the company itself are inducted into the Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame for the continuing development of ActivePure Technology. They are honored at the 15,000-person event along with WSCAR’s Dr. Marc Anderson (who developed the original concept) and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. As a result of being inducted into the Space Hall of Fame, ActivePure is Certified Space Technology
2017

2020

Aerus learns of a new pandemic virus in China. Corporate leadership takes immediate steps to ensure it can supply its customers in the case of a world health crisis. Among other measures, Aerus moves even more manufacturing into its Bristol plant. As a result, Aerus becomes one of the few air purification companies able to supply customers throughout the early months of the pandemic. Aerus begins investing even more heavily in testing, in order to learn exactly what its technology can do during a pandemic. Aerus creates ActivePure Medical, a division dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of healthcare facilities. The ActivePure Medical Guardian receives certification as a Class II Medical Device. As governments invested heavily in SARS-CoV-2 testing, Aerus invested heavily in testing what its technology could do to reduce viral particles. (Image Credit: Getty / Pekic)
2020

2021

Aerus Holdings, LLC changes its name to ActivePure Technologies, LLC. Aerus remains the brand name for franchisees and distributors. ActivePure helps hundreds of schools return to in-person learning. Both unaffiliated studies and self-reported data from the schools show remarkable improvement in air quality and surface decontamination. ActivePure’s expanded manufacturing at their Greenville and Bristol facilities necessitates spinning off their distribution operations to a nearby facility in Piney Flats, Tennessee. ActivePure continues to be a thought leader during the pandemic, encouraging governments, organizations, and individuals to give proper attention to the potential of active, rather than passive, air purification methods. Redesigned logo for 2021
2021

Leading Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

The world’s need for clean indoor air and surfaces will only grow, and ActivePure will continue to lead the charge. We are in homes, hospitals, hotels, offices, schools, sports arenas, amphitheaters, warehouses, and other facilities across 44 counties. We pledge to continue protecting and improving water, floors, surfaces, and air this century and beyond. To learn what we can do for your home or business, contact us today. The Beyond Guardian Air with ActivePure Technology protects a Dallas hotel room.
Leading Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

List of ActivePure Partners in the United States and Canada:

ActivePure Medical
Aerus
Aerus Water
Aerus Vacuums
Aerus Enterprise Solutions
Vollara

Source List:

For this timeline, the author is indebted to internal corporate sources provided by Andy Eide, Kevin Hickey, and Phillip Urso. Online sources are listed below.

AccessWire. (2020). FDA Grants Class II Medical Device Clearance for Aerus Medical Guardian with ActivePure Technology. Bloomberg. bloomberg.com/press-releases

ActivePure. (2022). About Us. ActivePure.co.nz. activepure.co.nz/about-us

ActivePure. (2022). ActivePure Story. ActivePure.uk. activepure.uk.com/activepure-story

Aerus. (2021). Over 90 Years of Innovation, Service, and Quality Products. Aerusvacuums.com aerusvacuums.com/Site

Dallas Museum of Art. (2017). Vacuum cleaner (model 30). Collections.DMA.org. https://collections.dma.org/artwork

Electrolux. (2022). The beginnings 1900-1918. ElectroluxGroup.com. electroluxgroup.com/en

Electrolux. (2022). The first steam tumble dryer 2000-2009. ElectroluxGroup.com. electroluxgroup.com/en

Electrolux. (2022). Electrolux goes global with first mobile vacuum cleaner. ElectroluxGroup.com. electroluxgroup.com/en

Electrolux. (2015). Founding an international company. Web.Archive.org. web.archive.org/web

Electrolux. (2022). Gathering dust: The history of the vacuum bag. ElectroluxGroup.com. electroluxgroup.com/en

eVacuum Store. (2022). The History of Electrolux. eVaccumStore.com evacuumstore.com/c-1908-electrolux-history.aspx

Hollar, Sherman. (2022). Fujishima Akira. Britannica.com. britannica.com/biography

Lux. (2022). The History of Lux International AG. LuxInternational.com. luxinternational.com/lux-history

Nasa Technology Transfer Program. (2018). Light-Induced Oxidation Cleans Air, Surfaces, Clothes. Nasa Spinoff. spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2018

Nasa Technology Transfer Program. (2021). Clean Air Tech for Spacecraft Helps Fight Pandemic. Nasa Spinoff. spinoff.nasa.gov/clean-air-tech

Shields, Christopher. (2022). Did You Know? Greenwich Helped Keep America Clean. Greenwich Historical Society. greenwichhistory.org/dyk_electrolux/

Smithsonian. (1994). Model 30. Si.edu. si.edu/object

St. James Press. (2003). “Electrolux AB History.” International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 53. fundinguniverse.com/company-histories

Wikipedia editors. (2022). Aerus. Wikipedia.org. en.wikipedia.org/wiki

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