James Dyson is one of the most recognizable engineers and industrial designers in the world. Born in England 1947, Dyson famously grew frustrated with his own Hoover vacuum cleaner in the 1970s, and set out to reinvent a new design. After years of prototypes, Dyson’s cyclonic separation (and bagless) vacuum cleaner became a reality. For more than ten years, however, manufacturers worldwide refused to carry the product. James was forced to start his own manufacturing company, Dyson Ltd., in 1993, and together with a personalized marketing campaign where Dyson appears in person to recount the story behind the design, the vacuum cleaner skyrocketed to fame, reaping in huge international sales.
Among Dyson’s other groundbreaking designs is the Dyson Airblade™ hand dryer which was unveiled in 2007. The ingenious invention, which focuses air into a blade traveling more than 400mph, has won numerous design awards. The Dyson Airblade uses a fraction of the energy of conventional hand dryers, reduces drying time by more than 75%, and it is the only hand dryer to be accredited in the United States and Britain for its ability to significantly reduce bacterial transmission. Dyson’s most recent game-changer is the bladeless fan Air Multiplier™.
In 2002 James Dyson founded the James Dyson Foundation with a mandate to support design and engineering education. The Foundation’s aim is to inspire young people to study engineering and become engineers by encouraging students to think differently and to make mistakes, the two most important fundamentals of any designer’s creative process and critical path. James Dyson recently appeared on Charlie Rose for a conversation about his life and career, and you can watch it in full above.
Dyson’s industrial designs are part of the permanent collection of eight museums around the world including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. James Dyson has served as provost (senior academic administrator) of the Royal College of Art since 2011. Forbes ranks James Dyson as the 7th wealthiest person in the U.K., and 286th wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of more than $4.4 billion.