Karcher is a German company which was founded in 1935, initially to build blast furnaces and other industrial equipment. Alfred Karcher, the founder, gained both experience and venture capital from his father, who owned an engineering firm. The Second World War was a windfall for the firm, which built aircraft engine heaters and other equipment for the Luftwaffe. Post-war, the company expanded into handcarts and trailer trucks, as well as keeping its original furnace line. 1950 was a crucial year, when Alfred Karcher personally invented the first pressure washer to appear in Europe. In 1974, when Karcher’s children headed the firm, the company shifted its focus entirely to powered cleaning devices, including wet/dry vacuums, pressure cleaners, and car washing systems.
Karcher still produces a range of home pressure washers of impeccable quality and engineering, descended from the founder’s 1950 invention. Many of these are electric powered, including the entry level, medium level, and premium level lines. These washers offer robust cleansing action with reduced sound, together with fume-free operation and a greener approach to washing. The firm also makes gasoline powered washers for spots where electricity use in inconvenient. Karcher’s success has been such that it currently operates in 57 nations. 85% of sales are international, and support is offered in the vast majority of countries thanks to 40,000 authorized service centers. Profits are 1.9 billion Euros annually, with 10.8 million appliances sold.
Other yard and garden products by the company show the same fine production values, and are identifiable by the bright “Karcher yellow” color used for their outer casings. These include watering systems for gardens, including sprinklers, spray guns, nozzles, connectors and tap adapters, hose reels and trolleys, and timer control units. Push sweepers are another important part of the firm’s product line, with working widths varying from 22 inches to 28 inches, with a side brush that easily snags debris out of corners or from the base of walls.