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A Brief History of Pressure Washers

If you are interested in purchasing a pressure washer then the history of the product probably isn’t of that much interest to you, but for those of you who do want to know a little of the background - here goes.

Britclean actually started life as Powerwash supplies in 1978 as a dealer of KEW cleaning equipment, it was the hard work of the proprietor Cyril Chadwick which led to the company becoming one of the leading suppliers of cleaning equipment in the midlands. At that time the pressure washer market was still in its infancy however the pressure washer pump that was used in those early KEW machines can trace its roots back much further than that.

It was in 1926 when an engineer by the name of Frank W.Ofeldt II was working on a portable whiskey still for a customer when he noticed if the steam which was generated hit his workshop floor; it pushed away the grease from that particular area. He quickly realised that if he mixed the steam with chemical, then this would be a breakthrough in cleaning.

Ofeldt knew that he needed to produce a pump capable of producing high pressure water and this led him to the Homestead Valve company and a gentleman by the name of Frederick E. Schuchman Sr, it was this collaboration that resulted in a project temporarily titled the “Hypressure Vapor Spray Generator” – obviously not a catchy name, it was another man called Mr. Eltinge whose background lay in advertising that suggested the name “High Pressure Jenny” and thus the name stuck.


Commercial Pressure Washers


Advancement in Pressure Washers

Jenny who is an American company, is credited with producing the first positive displacement triplex plunger pump with an oil bath crank case for use with steam cleaners, in fact the company is still operating today.

Obviously a lot has changed between those early pumps, the belt driven pumps used in the 1978 KEW machines and the pumps we see used in pressure washers today. On the whole they are able to produce much higher pressures at a much smaller physical size which allows the machine itself to be more compact.

Many industries and indeed many people now rely on their pressure washer as part of their daily or weekly cleaning routine, so when you are using your pressure washer to clean off your car, tractor, driveway or whatever it may be then at least now you know where it all began.