James was brought up in rural Norfolk, UK. Ignoring the advice of his careers adviser to become as estate agent, James headed to London to study at the Royal College of Art.
After graduating from the RCA, James was employed by engineering company, Rotork, where he designed his first project, the Sea Truck; a high-speed landing craft.
For James, frustration has proved the mother of invention. A wheelbarrow which sank in the mud was the inspiration for Ballbarrow – which had a large inflatable ball instead of a wheel.
Then in 1979, when James bought the then top of the range vacuum cleaner, he became frustrated with how it instantly clogged and began to lose suction. During a chance visit to a local sawmill, James noticed how the sawdust was removed from the air by large industrial cyclones. Could that principle work on a smaller scale, in a vacuum cleaner? He took his vacuum apart and rigged it up with a cardboard cyclone. He then began to clean the room with it. Amazingly it picked up more than his old bagged machine. The world’s first vacuum cleaner without a bag.
It took 15 years of frustration, perseverance, and over 5,000 prototypes, for James to finally launch the Dyson DCO1 vacuum cleaner under his own name. Within 18 months it became the best-selling cleaner in the UK. Dyson now exports to 50 countries and employees 2,500 people worldwide, many of whom are scientists and engineers.
Dyson continues to develop new and different technology, such as the Dyson digital motor, the Dyson Airblade™ hand dryer and the Dyson Air Multiplier™ fan
James continues to work alongside his team of engineers and scientists, developing new technologies to overcome everyday frustrations.