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Fifty Years At The Fore


Unger celebrates half a century of manufacturing and supplying quality tools for smart cleaning this year. Although the company now spans the globe, its beginnings read like the perfect version of the American dream. Matt Hodgkins, Sales and Marketing Director for Unger UK, reveals how the company have stayed ahead by always focusing on the needs of the cleaning operative.


The American Dream is a phrase with which we are all familiar. No concrete defi nition holds the greatest sway, as over the years it has changed to suit differing circumstances, ideologies and trends, but I don’t think it has ever strayed too far from, ‘a set of


ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity, success and upward social mobility through hard work’.


This neatly sums up one of the abiding aims of Henry Unger, not only for himself and his own family, but for the hard-working, dedicated cleaning operatives who he wanted to help. When Henry Unger seized the opportunity to improve the working lives of German window cleaners back in 1964, by introducing them to the latest innovative products from the US, he could not have guessed that he had


started a global cleaning revolution.


He was an American who came to Germany as a tourist, and found himself staying for a


lot longer! Not only did he meet his future wife and


business partner, he also noticed a gap in the window cleaning market. Squeegees were then unheard of in Germany, but Henry knew that this innovation from across the Atlantic could help European window cleaners increase productivity. Although he wasn’t fully versed in all


European languages he could, being one himself, speak fl uent window cleaner.


By demonstrating his new- fangled products face-to-


44 | FEATURE


face, he proved that operatives could clean faster, but also achieve better results. The key to his success, and something which Unger has continued to develop over the years, was the knowledge of what it is really like to be a window cleaner. He wanted to create products that solved their problems, and the company still does this today. By understanding how operatives work, and what their ‘pain points’ are, the most effective solutions can be created. His pioneering innovations are still highly popular today, alleviating health and safety concerns, allowing a more comfortable clean, and improving quality of life – at work and at home.


Product Milestones Unger is passionate about developing products that have real value for cleaning professionals, and our 50 years so far have been fi lled with major milestones. The S Squeegee was our fi rst breakthrough – made from stainless steel, not brass, and featuring a quick release mechanism to make changing the rubber strips easier, speeding up the cleaning process.


Another quantum leap was the development of water-fed poles, which have become the equipment of choice for professional window cleaners, allowing them to clean high buildings and windows safely from the ground, alleviating the need to work at height. Using carbon fi bre as a component in water-fed poles is a smart move, because it delivers exactly what window cleaners want – a lightweight system that doesn’t compromise on rigidity; and this material was a key component in the launch of Unger’s HiFlo™


nLite range in 2012. www.tomorrowscleaning.com


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