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Joseph H. Nuffer
Founder, Airway Electric Appliance Corp.
1896-1968


Joseph H. NufferMr. Nuffer was the President and Chairman of Air-Way Electric Appliance Corporation from 1936 to 1954 after holding various finance and sales positions at the company beginning in 1923. Air-Way was a major manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, electrical appliances and electric motors which during that time maintained a plant and offices at 2101 Auburn Street, Toledo, Ohio. Air-Way developed the first high filtration disposable paper bag which vastly improved the effectiveness of vacuum cleaners and added a new industry revenue stream from bag sales. Air-Way also created the first power nozzle.

In the early 1930’s, Joe convinced the Air-Way founder, Mr. Pratt E. Tracy, that in-home sales were more effective than traditional store sales. Then he created 200 branch sales dealerships that proved so successful that Air-Way became the largest vacuum cleaner seller in North America. Simply put by J.T. Urban, The Branch manager in London England, “The salesmen worship him because he speaks the language of the salesman”. Ultimately, Joe was an Honorary Member and President of the National Association of Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers in 1948 and remained on the Executive Committee for many years.

Joe served on Toledo’s Labor Relations Committee that included labor, management and citizens which was known around the country for developing the “Toledo Plan”. It helped to resolve a number of auto plant disputes, a glassworkers' strike, and a department store employees' work stoppage.

Joe also had leadership roles in many civic organizations including: President of the Employers’ Association, Chairman of the Toledo Airport Commission, Chairman of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce, President of the United Toledo Committee, Member of the Toledo Port Authority, Member of the Toledo District of the Boy Scouts of America Advisory Council for 30 Years, Director of the Lucas County American Cancer Society, Trustee of the Easter Seal Society for Lucas County, Trustee of the Toledo Chapter of Goodwill Industries, Trustee of the Toledo Salvation Army Advisory Committee, Member of the St Vincent’s Hospital Advisory Board, Member of the Red Cross Blood Bank Committee among others. In addition, he was a member of the Toledo Management Association, the American Legion, the Rotary Club, and the Masons.

He proudly served in the Army’s 83rd Infantry Division as a sergeant during World War I in the French Theater. He was married and had 2 sons and 6 grandchildren.

1994 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee