Ralph C. Peabody - 1981 Inductee
(1920 - 2000) Ralph Peabody invented the world's first vaccuumized power sweeper. His formal education was high school, plus a variety of short courses and seminars. He was awarded nine patents. He is a fine example of an outstanding inventor - engineer who has contributed significantly from the beginning of an idea and through the development of that idea into an invention into a broad product line that spawned the growth of a new industry worldwide. The product line that Peabody helped create is a significant economic and labor easing benefit to the world. A menial, laborious task, held in low esteem, was mechanized making it more economical, more rewarding, while freeing people to do more productive tasks. By mechanizing a menial, laborious task, Peabody has contributed to safer and more attractive work places leading to improved worker morale and higher productivity. It also triggered Tennant Company's modern day growth into a world leader in surface maintenance. As this growth occurred, work places around the world have become safer and more attractive, leading to greater personal satisfaction, improved morale, and higher productivity.
The Tennant Company, a major Minnesota industrial company, is today the leading manufacturer of industrial floor maintenance equipment in the world. It makes walk-behind, indoor riding, and outdoor sweepers and scrubbers used to clean surfaces at factories, warehouses, stadiums, parking garages, and other high-traffic areas. Its commercial floor maintenance division produces scrubbers and sweepers, carpet extractors, buffers, and polishers used in offices, warehouses, supermarkets, airport terminals, and other heavily used buildings.
NOTE: These biographies have been compiled from information accompanying the nomination form submitted to the Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame, information available on the Internet and from a variety of other sources.