A Look into Ettore

Amy LavinIndustry2 Comments

Ever wonder how some of the industry leaders got started? We teamed up with Ettore and their excellent staff to guest write a post on our blog. Their story is humbling and exciting, and if pictures are worth a thousand words, well, then we might be here for a while. Take a look at the story of how industry leader Ettore got started. 

Ettore Logo
The Ettore Story: A Simple Invention that Revolutionized Window Cleaning

Such a simple invention—a blade of rubber and a perfectly angled handle. Invented in 1936 by an Italian immigrant, the single-blade squeegee changed the window cleaning profession forever.

Ettore on his motorcycle in the beginning of his careerThe story is an all-American one, too. Ettore Steccone (1896-1984) immigrated to the United States in 1922 and chose window cleaning as his profession. He became a fixture around Oakland, California, riding his Indian motorcycle with a ladder on his shoulders and a bucket dangling from its end. In those early years, Ettore’s wife Emma worked by his side as his assistant. She cleaned the inside windows while he cleaned the outside. Yet, Ettore was unhappy with the poor quality of the available tools. He vowed to develop a better method for window cleaning, and over the next ten years, he tinkered in his tiny garage until he developed the first single-blade squeegee in 1936. He patented it in 1937 and called it the “New Deal” squeegee.

It wasn’t easy building the business from scratch. From the old school, Ettore never borrowed a dime to build the company. Emma was his right-hand woman, inspecting and cutting the rubber blades and assembling each squeegee by hand. Together, they scavenged scarce cardboard from behind stores to make boxes to ship the squeegees around the country. Both Emma and Ettore were thoroughly committed to the quality and success of their new product and were determined to realize their American dream.

Ettore working with one of his original squeegees
 Ettore Squeegee Patent
Ettore and his wife Emma

Then, on a visit to New York City, Ettore introduced his squeegee to the largest window cleaning wholesaler at the time. Unfortunately, Ettore was quickly turned away. But he was stubborn—before he left, he bet the wholesaler “the best hat in New York City” that within two weeks he’d have an order for his squeegees.
The wholesaler took the bet, and the race was on.

Ettore crisscrossed the streets of New York, putting his squeegee in the hands of every professional window cleaner he could find. By the end of the month, Ettore had a $2,000 order and “the best hat in New York City.” Ettore Products Company was on its way to success. (And the famous hat is still proudly displayed at the company’s headquarters in Alameda, California!)

Ettore Steccone passed away in 1984, but not before seeing his squeegee used in countries throughout the world. Today, Ettore Products Company serves both consumers and professionals with quality squeegees for cleaning virtually every surface from windows to showers and floors, as well as complementary products such as washers, scrapers, extension poles, and window cleaning solution.

Ettore’s wife, Emma, remained involved with the business until her death in 2004. She was always amazed at how their little garage business had grown into a worldwide operation. Nearly every Friday afternoon, she walked the production floor, personally checking the quality of the rubber and talking to every employee—all of whose names she knew. On special occasions, she would bake Italian cookies for all to enjoy.

Ettore working with one of his original squeegees

 Ettore Squeegee Patent
Ettore and his wife Emma

Despite the changes, some very important things remain the same. First, Ettore Products Company is still a family-owned business operated by Ettore Steccone’s daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. Second, each product bears the founder’s name and is unconditionally guaranteed to deliver flawless performance. Lastly, the ingredients and formulation of Ettore rubber remain a carefully guarded company secret. It’s the heart of the system and the secret to success—a razor-sharp edge that is supple and smooth, producing consistent, streak-free results with every stroke.

We want to give a big THANK YOU to Ettore for guest writing this piece for our blog. We are proud so sell Ettore products and even more pleased to have teamed up with them. Ettore is a joy to work with and one of the most enthusiastic and committed companies we’ve ever run across, both in their products and staff attitude. So again, Thank you.

Are you feeling inspired? Do you have a success story of your own? Comment below with your thoughts about this article, as well as some of your industry success stories!

2 Comments on “A Look into Ettore”

  1. I have had one of your 16′ Grip’n Grab for many years now and I really like it. However, the rubber grippers are getting old and brittle and are starting to break and fall apart. It is still a good working unit and I was wondering if there are replacement rubber grippers available. ?

    1. Hey Seth! Thank you for commenting! Unfortunately, we don’t sell replacements rubber grippers, though we do still sell the Grip n Grab. Sorry this wasn’t the answer you were hoping for!

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