In 1923, at the age of 76, Anna Bissell applied for a passport to travel to japan, China and Hong Kong.
"Melville Bissell developed an early carpet sweeping machine to aide in cleaning the crockery shop he and his wife Anna owned and operated. The device was patented as the Bissell Carpet Sweeper in 1876. In 1883 Bissell built the company's first manufacturing plant in Grand Rapids. By the 1890s the company had an international presence and was producing 1000 sweepers per day.
Melville Bissell died in 1889, and his wife Anna took over as leader of the company. She served as the company president from 1889 - 1919 and chair of the board from 1919 - 1934." -wikipedia.com, "Bissell, Inc."
"Anna Sutherland Bissell (1846-1934) was an innovative,
progressive businesswoman who built a small carpet sweeper company
into an international giant. Her business career began with her
marriage to Melville Bissell and their move to Grand Rapids from
Kalamazoo in 1871 to expand their crockery and china business. They
were a well-matched team. Melville was a skilled inventor and
craftsman, and Anna understood marketing and business development.
After Melville developed a functional carpet sweeper in 1876, Anna
sold their product from town to town, building a broad customer base.
When a fire struck the first manufacturing plant in 1884, it was Anna
who secured loans from local banks to keep the business going.
After Melville's death in 1889, Anna became chief executive officer and over the next 30 years built the company into the largest firm of its kind in the world. She initiated progressive labor policies, including workers compensation insurance and pension plans, long before these were widespread in industry.
The mother of five children, Anna shouldered civic as well as family responsibilities, founding the Bissell Settlement House, which provided aid and education to needy women and their families. She also extended her personal commitment and financial support to the Blodgett Home for Children, the Union Benevolent Association (now Blodgett Memorial Medical Center) and the Clark Memorial Home. In 1991 Anna Bissell's work brought her an honored place as the only woman in the Junior Achievement of Michigan Great Lakes Business Hall of Fame." - www.grapids.lib.mi.us/wiki/images/c/cf/264.pdf