History of Pure Water

It would be interesting from a historical point of view to know who figured out that pure water could be used to clean glass. I am guessing here but I would think that the technology was figured out first in another industry and then soemone figured out how to transform that technology to window cleaning.


I would guess it worked it’s way out to the service industry via the Medical field. At some point being used by car detailers, then window cleaners. Just a guess.

I know that 25 years ago it was used more on commercial and not much on residential. I have seen the use of pure water grow substantially in the last 10 years. In fact 15 years ago it seemed like using WFP’s was a California thing. While definitely used in other parts of the country, it seemed more excepted by window cleaners in California.

Posted earlier on World by Mike Draper – new WCR feature no doubt.

It was known at least 30 years ago that “pure water” was considered with WFP; I remember pricing DI tanks back then when we did “Tucker Pole” work. We often lugged a water softener tank to improve the water’s risibility; I know others were using DI / Softeners, etc. Often on a hand cart/dolly.

We had also almost totally eliminated using any detergents with the Tucker poles; we found the Tucker Pills caused almost as many issues as not using anything.

The big change came when Ettore Introduced Carbon Fiber & Fiber Glass poles along with the RO/DI combination system that now looks so obvious now.

Who knew all those years ago that any of us would be willing to pay Thousands and Thousands of dollars for A single pole? or water filtration system… The industry has changed a LOT since Ettore first backed (by buying advertising,etc.) the guys starting the window cleaner’s magazine.


My dad worked in micro-circuitry many years ago. Working on Apollo space missions and rocket micro chips. They rinsed circuit boards with pure water. I believe the reason was the pure water would leave no minerals to conduct electricity. No minerals left on the board to cross over from circuit to circuit. Not sure of all the details but thought that might help.

Hello World Group,

Window Cleaning requires “spot free” rinse, like what we see in the auto detailing industry. Micro chips require “ultra pure” water, which is what Apollo Water was providing in the Southern California in the early to mid 1980s to semi-conductor chip manufacturers and others using circuit boards in the IT field. Apollo Water assisted Tucker Pole customers, who were the first to benefit from the “spot free” water to achieve “spot free” results, which was very difficult given the hard water in Souther California. De-ionization equipment was expanded to help our industry due to the many benefits in the semi-conductor industry. Back then, Apollo Water was setting up customers with a 3 tank and sometimes 2 tank set up.

The use of pure water technology was to achieve “spot free” rinse, not to clean. Apollo Water was an excellent partner to those in the window cleaning industry in Southern California in the early days of linking “spot free” water with those who owned Tucker® Pole equipment. In the late 1990s, Tucker illustrated the combination of RO with DI in a van-mounted setup to expand customer options in achieving cost effective “spot free” results. Tucker Poles began to be marketed and sold, not just with DI as the only “spot free” option, but with the option of RO/DI combination. Our UK Distributor began marketing Tucker Poles with a RO/DI combination too. Of course, in the UK, access to water faucets are hard to come buy and in most circumstances customers must deliver the water to the job site.

Another component that was helpful to the emerging of “spot free” water rinse, was the use of DI in medical treatments, such as dialysis. Again, this was example of “ultra pure” water that was transferred to commercial applications that could benefit from “spot free” rinse water.

Water Technology = “Spot free” or “residue free” results

It is more about rinse, than about cleaning. Though, for convenience, many customers use “spot free” water for the cleaning/washing side as well, it’s introduction is and remains for rinse. We have experienced customers who clean with regular water, in isolated locations may use some detergent, then rinse with “spot free” water to achieve “spot free” results. It all comes down to your set up, application and personal preference.


Robin Tucker

A couple other time references:
Tucker began WaterFed Manufacturing in the the mid-1950s
In 1957, Tucker introducted the first Tucker® High-Level Window Washer
Shortly thereafter, the extention pole was introduced in the USA

Robin B. Tucker, Vice President

Hello World Group:

In certain markets, the detergent was the only water softening option in the early days before an economy of scale began with water treatment. In certain markets, detergent greatly helped and in other markets, detergent couldn’t chemically resolve the problem that truly existed, hard water.

The water treatment industry loves water softening. Why would anyone combine it with DI, but it was often pushed in the early days to many of our Tucker Pole customers. The first RO/DI combination introduced at the IWCA and BSCAI shows did include a water softener. Tucker saw pros and cons to this, but in certain markets it would help in the education and maintenance side of things. The water softener was included to help increase the life of the RO filter/membrane, especially in regions of hard water.

Shortly thereafter, we saw others introduce very similar water treatment products roughly 10+ years ago in the US market. How attitudes and perceptions have changed among many in our industry over the past decade.

As was mentioned in an early post, the introduction of water treatment was for “spot free” rinse, not cleaning. The customers in hard water markets needed a solution to eliminating the TDS, which was typically calcium carbonate, so they could achieve “spot free” results.


Robin Tucker


Yes, the technology was used in other industries first. My father, Tommy Tucker (e-mail [email protected]), picked up the idea when he learned how people were cleaning cars in the used car industry back at a Show in Southern California (not a car show). The person was familiar with the car industry and he was visiting our stand.

It was difficult to transfer the technology into the window cleaning industry in the early days. The early IWCA type members were very loyal, as the emblem or the logo embraced, to the squeegee. Obviously, many in the Industry didn’t like competition either.

The Southern California market was the first market to break through in using the Tucker Pole with “spot free” water technology in the early days. There were those in the industry that actually concealed the use of DI early to keep it as a competitive advantage. In my early IWCA shows, I knew customers who would look at name badges before recommending the Tucker Pole with “spot free” water rinse. They shared with me a desire to keep it from their local competition.

The industry has changed over the past 20 years, since the beginning of IWCA and even earlier use of DI with WaterFed. The first seminar on WaterFed wasn’t until 1999. Heck, the AWC Magazine kept WaterFed out of it’s Window Cleaning History articles in the early days. They referenced the newer extension pole, but failed to reference the WaterFed pole in some of their early articles.

I would say that the History of WaterFed is where “pure” water is found. If you want to go back to pure water, one would likely want to look up when distilled water was invented. It was clearly the first process that today is being used as spot free water in certain window cleaning applications. The DI process was used in WWII, but didn’t become cost effective until Gates and others introduced the PC. In 1964, the first membrane for RO used in today’s technology was developed.

My father and I have been visiting this afternoon about this subject that has come up on the World group. It’s interesting to reflect on this subject after our conversations with Jeff Klass and Gary Mauer at the ISSA-Interclean Show last week in Chicago. Certainly there are some interesting perceptions in our market today. We certainly appreciate the benefits of using our products with “spot free” water as opposed to the early days of risk of hard water and limited chemical solutions.

I use the term “purified water”.

Karl Robinson shared with me that he thought Peter Fogwill first introduced the water fed pole cart. Not long after Omnipole made one before others followed suit.

Do you know Robin, or anyone else, about the history of pure water fed carts?

It was Omni before me.

Above is Peters (Aquatec) response to the question “who was first.” Peter didn’t take into account that his system was infact a go anywhere water producing system - whereas the omnipole cart just pumped water. You can actually take the Aquatec cart to the beach & produce drinking water from the sea.