History Of Vacuum Cleaners

history of vacuum cleaners

Every homemaker or cleaner at some point must have been extremely thankful to the person who invented the wonder machine called vacuum cleaner! Otherwise cleaning floors, rugs, carpets would have continued to be tedious as it used to be before the invention.

Vacuum cleaners, through an air pump create a suction force or void which sucks in all the dust and dirt. This mechanised method made it easier to maintain cleanliness as opposed to the times when carpets had to be taken out in the open, hung and then beaten with a carpet beater to remove all the dirt. Floors had to be swept and the accumulated dirt had to be manually picked up and thrown into the trash. Vacuum cleaners have eliminated all these hassles.

Early Versions of Vacuum Cleaner
The earlier versions of vacuum cleaners were not as compact, portable or handy as they are today. In 1869, Ives McGaffey invented something called the ‘Whirlwind,’ which was not a motorized machine as such but was a hand-pumped one which aided in sweeping the floors.

Subsequently thirty years later, in 1899, John Thurman invented, what some people claim to be the first motorized vacuum cleaner, which was powered by gasoline. It was so big that it had to be drawn from one place to another by horse carriages and was used for providing service at people’s homes at the rate of $4 per call.

Another addition in this line of unhandy and cumbersome vacuum cleaners was the one invented in 1901 by Hubert Cecil Booth, from Britain. His invention ran on petrol and was a mammoth cleaner, which had to be drawn by horses and be ‘parked’ outside so that it could be cleaned with long hose pipes.

All these and few others formed a group of fruitless and ear-popping vacuum cleaners, ironically leaving vacuum for better equipment.

Beginning of the Modern Day Vacuum Cleaner
Thanks to James Spangler, from Ohio, and his incessant coughing, today we have in our hands the modern version of vacuum cleaner. It’s noteworthy though that the original invention was not how we see it today. To get rid of his cough, which he thought was the result of his inefficient carpet cleaner; he invented the basic design of an electric vacuum cleaner. The interesting part is the things he used to make it – a crumbling fan’s motor, a broom handle, a soap box and a pillow cover to collect the dust and dirt. Later, improving upon this simple mechanism he achieved the foolproof cleaner with attachments and a cloth filter bag and earned a patent for it in 1908.

The famous Hoover Company, well known as vacuum cleaner manufacturer, also found its descent from Spangler’s invention. William Hoover, founder of the company, bought the patent rights for the cleaner from Spangler, who continued to design for the Hoover’s. Subsequently, modifications were made to the original design to improve efficiency but sales weren’t that great even then. Hoover then came up with a creative idea of a 10 days free home trial scheme, after which Hoover vacuum cleaners became widely popular making it a household name.

Much later in 1980s, James Dyson invented a vacuum cleaner without the air bags. Instead, he used something called the cyclonic separation, which increased the suction force without having the need to replace the clogged bags. And aptly advertised by him then ‘Say Goodbye to the Bag,’ vacuum cleaners eventually became bag-free. Since then a lot of improvisation has been made on the original models, like vacuum cleaners that can pick up liquid dirt as well.

With the evolution of technology, vacuum cleaners are also changing in its features, eliminating the obsolete ones and introducing better ones, so that a user can avail the best of it to keep the house spick and span.

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