American Sanders, formerly known as Clarke, was founded by Alex A. Clark, who was inspired to start the company due to his dissatisfaction with the poor quality of bar tops in the bars he visited. In 1916, he created the first bar top restorer, but it eventually became less popular. However, by adding a pole to the machine, he was able to create the first-floor buffer, which became the foundation of Clarke (now American Sanders).
In the 1950s, the company experienced significant growth and innovation, introducing new products such as the FM Floor Maintainer, the DU-8 Rental Sander, and the first battery-operated auto scrubber, the Clarke-A-Matic. Sales continued to rise during this time, reaching 9 million annually. Clarke underwent several changes in ownership throughout the 1950s and beyond.
Currently, American Sanders (formerly Clarke) produces floor sanding machines in Sparta, North Carolina for Pioneer Eclipse. The company offers a wide range of flooring machines, including those for hardwood floor restoration and sanding, and is recognized for its innovative products and dedication to quality.
Some notable moments in the company’s history include being acquired by Studebaker in 1959 and introducing the FM Floor Maintainer, releasing the first Dual Motor Upright Vacuum Cleaner, the Model 550, in 1965, producing the 1,000,000th FM Floor Maintainer in 1971, and launching the TimberGuard line of water-based hardwood floor products in 2015 in collaboration with Pioneer Eclipse.