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James Dyson

Sir James Dyson OM CBE RDI FRS FREng FCSD FIET (born 2 May 1947) is a British inventor, industrial designer, farmer, and business magnate who founded Dyson. He is best known as the inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, which works on the principle of cyclonic separation. According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2023, he is the fifth richest person in the UK, with an estimated net worth of £23 billion.

He served as the Provost of the Royal College of Art from August 2011 to July 2017, and opened a new university, the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, on Dyson’s Wiltshire campus in September 2017.

The majority of Dyson’s fortune is derived from closely held Dyson Holdings Pte., the household appliance manufacturer that makes the UK’s best-selling vacuum cleaner, according to the Euromonitor website. 

The company reported revenue of 6.5 billion pounds ($7.8 billion) in 2022, according to the company’s website. The valuation is based on the average enterprise value-to-sales and enterprise value-to-Ebitda multiples of three publicly traded peer companies: De’Longhi, Techtronic Industries and SEB.

He also owns farmland, which is valued using its net asset value, as disclosed in the 2021 accounts of holding company Dyson Farming.

His 300-acre Gloucestershire estate is valued at market prices for similar assets in the region, according to a property broker who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The valuation of Dyson’s fortune also includes an analysis of property purchases, charitable donations, dividends, insider transactions, asset sales and taxes.

A spokesperson for Dyson declined to comment on the net wealth calculation.

Websitedyson.co.uk
jamesdysonaward.org
jamesdysonfoundation.com

Biography

Education: Royal College of Art, Oxford Brookes University

James Dyson was born in Norfolk, England on May 2, 1947, the third child of Alec and Mary Dyson, who were both teachers. His father died of liver cancer when he was 9. He was sent to Gresham’s, a Norfolk boarding school, the same year.

Dyson enrolled at London’s Byam Shaw School of Art in 1965. He left after a year to attend the Royal College of Art, where he studied furniture and interior design, and met Jeremy Fry, an engineer who offered him a job designing an amphibious landing craft in 1970. Four years later, Dyson left to start his own company after inventing a wheelbarrow with a load-spreading red ball instead of a wheel.

Against Dyson’s wishes, the invention was sold off a few years later by his business partners, who’d become majority shareholders. He started working on a bagless vacuum cleaner in 1979, which he developed using the principle of cyclonic separation. He first saw the process at an industrial sawmill, which used a vortex to remove particles from the air, and decided to apply it to a domestic appliance.

He spent five years refining the idea and, after 5,126 prototypes, licensed the technology to a Japanese company. The royalties he received enabled him to begin selling a bagless machine, the DC01, under his own name in the UK in 1993. It became the country’s most popular model within two years. He repeated the feat nine years later when debuted the DC07 in the US.

Dyson released a hand dryer in 2006, a bladeless fan in 2010, and various iterations of his vacuum cleaner. He regularly appears in the UK press and criticized the UK’s dearth of engineering graduates and innovation in 2013, which he said was limiting his company’s growth.

Dyson married artist Deirdre Hindmarsh in 1968. They have three children — Emily, a fashion designer, Jacob, a lighting designer, and Sam, a musician.

Milestones

  • 1974 Invents the Ballbarrow, a wheelbarrow with a ball-wheel.
  • 1983 Completes the design of his first bagless vacuum cleaner.
  • 1986 Licenses his bagless vacuum technology in Japan.
  • 1993 Sells DC01, the first Dyson vacuum cleaner, in the UK market.
  • 2000 Wins lawsuit against Hoover over copying his vacuum mechanism.
  • 2006 A Dyson hand dryer is introduced.
  • 2007 Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
  • 2013 Sues Samsung for infringing on Dyson’s vacuum cleaner patents.
  • 2014 Funds engineering research center at Cambridge University.

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