Bissell was founded in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by Melville Bissell, who invented a carpet sweeping device for the crockery shop that he and his wife Anna owned. Bissell got a patent for his machine in 1876. By 1883, Bissell had a manufacturing plant and by 1890, the company was making and selling approximately 100 carpet sweepers each day, both in the US and internationally.
Over the years the company has continued to expand and grow, as well as develop new technology. In 1956 the company invented the first manual carpet and rug shampoo machine, removing the chore of washing these by hand.
In 2001, the SpotBot was introduced by the company, making it the first portable deep cleaner specially designed for pet messes.
In 2004 the company acquired a license for the Woolite trademark for all carpet and upholstery cleaning formulas for $62 million.
While other companies have seen their sales decline over the years, Bissell has seen steady revenue, with annual revenue in 2017 of $800 million.
In 2009, the company surpassed Hoover to take the #1 position in floor care products in North America, with a 20% market share. Company headquarters remain in Grand Rapids, Michigan.