Sir James Dyson given Order of Merit for industrial design work

Dyson has become one of just 24 living people to be given the honour by the Queen.

James Dyson

Sir James Dyson has become one of just 24 living people to be admitted to the Order of Merit.

The Order of Merit is in the personal gift of the Queen and is awarded to those who “have rendered exceptionally meritorious services towards the advancements of the arts, learning, literature and science”.

Dyson was appointed CBE in the 1998 New Year’s Honours and given a Knighthood in 2007.

His latest accolade puts him alongside other living members of the Order of Merit including architect Lord Foster, playright Sir Tom Stoppard and artist David Hockney.

Dyson came to fame with his invention of the bagless vacuum cleaner, which was first released in 1983 but became popular in the 1990s.

He and his company have also worked on the Ballbarrow – a wheelbarrow with a spherical wheel that was released in 1974 – and the Airblade hand-dryer, which was released in 2006.

Dyson founded his own company, Dyson Ltd, in 1993. Based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, Dyson currently employs around 4,500 people and in 2014 reported revenues of £1.4 billion.

He also runs the James Dyson Foundation, which operates an annual awards scheme and last year pledged to open the Dyson School of Design Engineering. In 2011 he was named as provost of the Royal College of Art.

• Also awarded in the New Year’s Honours were Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, head of the School of Design and director of design innovation at Glasgow School of Art, who was given an OBE for services to art and design.

Discover more:

• Dyson delivers record-breaking profits amid car design rumours

• Dyson to enter new product category each year

• Dyson says his new school will “embrace creativity” and teach business skills

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