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The Vacuum Cleaner Was Harder to Invent Than You Might Think

Spangler, however, went on designing for the company. William spent a lot of money on research and development as well as marketing, using door-to-door salespeople. William continued to finance further improvement Spangler made to the vacuum cleaner, and the finished design looked like a bagpipe mounted on a cake box, but still worked with high efficiency. They began selling the design hose initial sales were very slow but took a turn when Hoover introduced a day free trial for home use.

The business sells in millions, and the Spangler prototype has not changed much since then, only designs have become quieter, smaller and sleeker. The Hoover Company marketed the Constellation which was a different vacuum cleaner because it did not have wheels. Instead, it floated on the exhaust which operated as a hovercraft.

The constellation had a rotating hose to enable the user to place it at the center of a room and work around it. Their introduction was in , and their spherical shape makes them easily identifiable. They are great to clean hardwood floors. The company continued to modify and update the constellation over several years till it discontinued in The modern design is quieter especially when cleaning carpets because it muffles the sounds.


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They float on a bare floor or carpeted floors, but when cleaning hard floors, the exhaust air could lead to the scattering of debris and fluff. Hoover Company re-released the updated version of the constellation with changes being a HEPA filtration bag , a turbine-powered brush roll, a redesigned version of the handle and a mp motor. In the UK, the exact model was marketed using the Maytag brand name, Satellite, owing to licensing restrictions. This model remained in the market from to In , the Fisker and Nielsen Company in Denmark became the first company to sell vacuum cleaners in Continental Europe.


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The design was light with a weight if about In , Electrolux, a Swedish company launched their model that enabled the device to lie open the floor using two thin metal runners. In , Vorwerk, a German company began marketing their model which they used direct sales to sell. According to their website, Air-Way Sanitizor became the first firm to have a seal on the dust bag, as well as the pioneer of HEPA filters on vacuum cleaners.

In the s, portable vacuum cleaners using the cyclonic separation principle became popular. The principle was known for separating dirt and used mainly in central vacuum systems. In , P. Geier Company of Cleveland had received a patent for the cyclonic vacuum cleaner and later sold it to Health-Mor in Health-Mor then introduced the Filter Queen Cyclonic vacuum cleaner in the same year. In , James Dyson created the G-force vacuum cleaner, which was the first dual cyclone machine without a bag.

His invention did not sell among manufacturers, so he began his own company. During the late s and early s, some companies came up with robotic vacuum cleaners that had limited suction power.

Several of the brands include the bobsweep, Neato, and Roomba. They can move autonomously and collect dust and debris while emptying it into a dustbin. Neato Robotics in December , launched the first robotic vacuum cleaner in the world which can scan and map the surroundings.

Vacuum Cleaner History

In England, ambitious inventors earned patents for mechanical sweepers that cleaned streets, floors, and carpets. Their inner working were simple—a manual system of pulleys and cranks that rotated a brush or sweeping apparatus to push dirt into a receptacle.

Cleaning in History: The Vacuum Cleaner – House Cleaning Experts

Yet these complex devices were not much better than a broom. In , Hiram Herrick of Boston submitted what was probably the first American patent for a "carpet sweeper" though, it was essentially a copy of a British patent. Basically, it was a rolling broom and dustpan. Over the next two years, various inventors submitted patents that made vague improvements on this design.

Few were actually produced and even fewer were ever sold. Then came Daniel Hess. With the country on the brink of Civil War, the Iowan inventor changed the carpet-sweeping game with one simple addition: air. Hess's patent describes his innovation : "The nature of my invention consists in drawing fine dust and dirt through the machine by means of a draft of air.

But this s device was the first rudimentary design for what we now call a vacuum cleaner. Taking the concept a step further in , Ives McGaffey of Chicago used a fan to move the air and stood his machine upright. The Whirlwind nearly drove the company that produced it out of business, and thanks to slow sales and two factory fires, nearly all Whirlwinds had been destroyed by The trouble for Hess and McGaffey was that moving air is only half of the solution.

Vacuuming maybe be a boring chore, but it's a pretty easy one because electrical power does all the hard suction work. Nobody wants to crank up their Dyson or Hoover.

Brief Vacuum Cleaner History

By the late 19th century, new innovations made this dream possible. Gasoline, for instance, emerged as a source of fuel in In , John S.

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Thurman of St. Louis created his gasoline-powered "pneumatic carpet renovator. The device was the size of a horse-drawn carriage. Thank goodness Thurman made house calls. The inventor took out ads in the St. Various people tried to improve on Thurman's patent with limited success.

One story goes that an unnamed inventor in London was at a trade show, boasting that his particular gas-powered carpet cleaner was the latest and greatest, when he was approached by the English structural engineer Hubert Cecil Booth. According to a article Booth wrote about this incident many years after the fact, the inventor was apoplectic when Booth questioned him as to why the machine didn't suck in dust rather than expel it.

Booth knew better. An accomplished engineer for the British Royal Navy, he essentially reverse engineered Thurman's patent and came up with the " Puffing Billy. Accordingly advertisements for the Hoover depicted a chic flapper of the late s using the vacuum. Although the vacuum did clean more thoroughly than the broom and dustpan, the popularization of such appliances created more exacting standards of cleanliness thus making the hope of simplified housework largely illusory.

How much was the Vacuum during the time period of it being released? Mauricio Tue, See our privacy policy. Collections Search Search Terms.