Nicholas McKay, Lint Roller Inventor, Dies

Nicholas McKayNicholas McKay

MARLBOROUGH, Mass.-Nicholas D. McKay Sr., who invented the lint roller, died on Nov. 15 at the age of 93.

According to a statement from Butler Home Products, which acquired McKay's company, The oneCARE Co., McKay invented the lint roller in 1956 and founded HelMac Products Corp. in Flint, Mich. (The company's name came by combining the name of McKay's wife, Helen, along with "Mac"). The HelMac Magik Lint Pic-Up achieved national distribution in 1968, and by 1973 it was available in more than 60,000 retail locations, the Butler statement said.

Butler acquired HelMac, whose name had changed to The oneCARE Co., in January of this year. The company still offers the lint roller and a refill pack, along with the Lint Grabber lint-removal brush.

"Mr. McKay left a lasting impression in the cleaning products business, just as I'm certain he did in life," said Michael Silverman, senior vice president of marketing at Butler. "He will be missed, and he will long be remembered by all of us here at Butler."

David GillDavid Gill | Contributing Editor

David Gill is a contributing editor to HFN.

Research Store


  • Macy’s Discusses Virtual Reality Test at HFN’s Omnichannel Summit

    Camera Icon   More Videos

Subscribe to
HFN Omnichannel
Receive the news you need to know about the trends in the industry delivered right to your inbox.

Current Issue

  • HFN cover October 2017


    October 2017


    One Kings Lane Flashes Forward

    Formerly a flash-sale only website, One Kings Lane—now under the ownership of Bed Bath & Beyond—evolves into a lifestyle retailer with a new physical presence.


      •  HFN Tech & Omnichannel Study- Although e-commerce shopping is increasing dramatically among consumers, home retailers lag in their current and future tech investments and implementation.
      • Market Previews: High Point & Tabletop- The newest collections and influencer trends emerge in our High Point Market and N.Y. Tabletop Show special sections.