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I've never actually used a Dyson bagless vacuum cleaner. I'm told these machines really are a technological breakthrough, but they fail Mrs Collins's style test. Let's face it, even compared with the old Hoover upright, they are not things of great beauty, except in the eyes of the most rigorous proponents of form-follows-function philosophy.

Nevertheless, you can't argue with the fact that James Dyson has turned vacuuming upside down (not something to be recommended with a Hoover). Having conquered this country's carpets, Mr D is now making such inroads in America that he can claim market leadership there.

This is a slight cheat, since Hoover still outsells Dyson by three to one, but the latter costs so much more that, in terms of revenue, the claim is true. It is an astonishing achievement. Breaking into the American market is an expensive gamble even for large, established businesses, but Dyson has done so despite the fact that it is comparatively small, and still a private company, meaning that it has not needed to come to the stock market for funds to pay for its trans-Atlantic foray.

Last week Mr Dyson reported that profits had passed £100 million, allowing him the luxury of trying to decide how much dividend to pay himself and his wife Deirdre. He hardly needs the money: last year they took out £17 million, helping to pay for a country estate. The small blot on his landscaped garden, in the shape of a prosecution for contractors dumping silt from his excavated lakes, need not concern us here.

This is not only a heartwarming story of a determined inventor and entrepreneur getting a handsome reward, but also a demonstration of how our economy can evolve and thrive even if everything we buy nowadays seems to be made in China.

Extract from an article ny Neil Collins in the Telegraph

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