Alfred Kärcher was one of the well-known inventors-entrepreneurs that came forth
in great numbers out of western Germany in the early 1900s along with such illustrious
figures as Robert Bosch, Gottlieb Daimler and Count Zeppelin.
A former employee remembers him: "When Alfred Kärcher was in his element, when we
were running trials and test, the atmosphere was simply exciting. He just couldn’t
be stopped, he had a constant stream of new ideas."
In the early 1930’s Alfred Kärcher specialized in the design of industrial submersible
heating elements eventually resulting in the reknowned Kärcher Salt-Bath Furnace.
More than 1,200 units were sold up to 1945.
In 1950, Kärcher invented the world’s first hot-water high-pressure washer, which
laid the groundwork for the company’s direction into cleaning equipment. Today,
Kärcher is the world’s largest manufacturer of pressure washers. The extended Kärcher
product family includes pressure washers, wet/dry blasting systems, vacuums, steam
cleaners, floor sweepers, floor scrubbers, car and truck wash systems, pressure
washer detergents, drinking water systems, and waste water treatment systems plus
numerous other consumer and commercial-grade products.
In fact, a Kärcher is sold somewhere on the planet every 6 seconds!
Annual Kärcher sales total more than $1.3 billion Euros. And, as with other manufacturers
in that part of Germany, Kärcher has set the standard worldwide for innovation,
ergonomics and quality. The company holds nearly 350 technology and design patents
and has won numerous awards for its engineering and ergonomic innovations
Kärcher has more than 6,500 employees worldwide in 35 countries. Each year Kärcher
produces more than 6 million pieces of equipment in eight production facilities
located in the U.S., Germany, Italy, China, Mexico and Brazil.
Alfred Kärcher, who died on September 17, 1959 at the age of 58, never saw the magnitude
of what he started. But his name and family’s influence has lived on. His wife,
Irene, continued his dream until her death in 1989. Today, the two Kärcher children,
Johannes and Susanne, are majority owners of the privately held corporation.