Arable 04 Sep 2014

Kärcher’s 80th Anniversary this year

karcher old machine

80 Years Young.

To celebrate its 80th Anniversary last year, cleaning experts Kärcher launched a nationwide competition to find the oldest Kärcher Professional machine still in use.  Their search took them to the Scottish Lowlands and fellow octogenarian, farmer Gordon Stewart.

Long before the famous yellow Kärcher domestic machines, and before the cleaning giant expanded into vacuums, sweepers, scrubber driers, steam and ice cleaning technologies, Alfred Kärcher first made industrial cleaning solutions.  Back in the 1950s Alfred was credited with inventing the hot water pressure washer, so it seems fitting that the winning machine comes from this family of products.


One Careful Owner: 

Back in 1979, Gordon Stewart – then in his 40s – purchased a Kärcher HDS 600S Hot Water Pressure Washer for £700 (around £2,476.15 in today’s money).  While it represented a significant investment for the 360 Acre mixed arable and dairy farm upon which Gordon was born and raised, it’s safe to say he has certainly got his money’s worth from it over the years!

Back then the machine was used to clean the milk parlour.  “It was straightforward and a revolution for cleaning the parlour as everyone took pride in their parlour and animal husbandry,” says Gordon. Cleaning out animal housings is a common rural challenge and many farmers up and down the UK rely on Kärcher machines to provide quick and efficient cleaning in and around livestock pens, to maintain herd health and prevent the risk of disease.  Nowadays the farm is run by Gordon’s daughter Marjory and her husband Lindsay Ashworth and they use the machine for cleaning in the silage pit and cattle courts.   On the arable side, keeping the farm equipment clean helps to protect and maintain these valuable assets.  Over the years the machine has been used for all manner of tasks around the farm from cleaning out farm sheds, washing down equipment and even removing moss from the roofs whilst standing in a basket on the forklift!

Local Kärcher dealer Tayside Pressure Washers secured the original machine sale 37 years ago at the Scotbeef event, after Gordon had received demonstrations from both Kärcher and a rival product.  Gordon explained that this relationship continues, as all these years on it was Hugh Gamlen from Tayside Pressure Washers who approached him at a local farm roadshow and highlighted the competition, as he was aware how old his machine was and that it was still in use.

Indeed, we received many competition entries for machines sold in the early 1980s, however the Fife machine just pipped them to the post.  Karcher Professional’s Product Marketing Manager, Phil Power said, “It’s great to see how many longstanding relationships exist between Kärcher users and their machines, and it’s a real demonstration of the robustness of the machines, that they perform solidly for their owners over so many years.”

New For Old:

Gordon’s competition prize was the modern-day equivalent of his old machine, an HDS 6/12 C, a state-of-the-art compact hot water high-pressure cleaner featuring Kärcher’s unique eco!efficiency mode that reduces diesel consumption by 20% without compromising daily cleaning performance. Its Machine Protector system prolongs component life and its central one-button operation, makes the
HDS 6/12 C easy to set-up, intuitive to operate and cheap to run. Commenting on winning the competition, Gordon said he was, “Surprised and absolutely delighted.”  Kärcher is famous for its German engineering and never standing still when it comes to innovation, something Gordon can testify, “Kärcher demonstrated the capabilities of the new machine and this is once again a revelation.”

As for the old machine, after years of faithful service, it’s time to put it out to pasture as the new machine is so much more efficient.

To find out more about how Kärcher can make a difference to your business and for a free on-site survey or demonstration, please contact 01295 752142, email or visit


Farmer Gordon Stewart at his Fife farm, using his new HDS 6/12 to clean Tayside Pressure Washers’ van alongside his trusty old
HDS 600S.