A household appliance which we all use regularly, vacuum cleaners remain a vital part of our daily household chores. Yet, whilst we’re all familiar with using them there is still plenty we might not know about these marvellous invention – and here are ten examples:
1. Although classed as a modern convenience, the vacuum cleaner’s humble beginnings began way back in 1869 when the first patent for a rug cleaning device was registered by an American inventor. His sweeping machine, the ‘Whirlwind,’ although not motorised made use of a hand pump to get at the ground in dirt and grime.
2. In 1901 a British engineer called Hubert Cecil Booth patented a petrol-driven device, drawn by a horse and carriage. Although an innovative idea, it was extremely cumbersome and chaotic. The carriage was parked up outside the property to be cleaned and long hoses were fed through the windows of the room requiring cleaning.
3. John Thurman, another entrepreneur made the most of his horse-drawn design by charging his customers for his noisy cleaning services in the manner of a modern day, door-to-door salesman.
4. In 1907 James Spangler’s chronic coughing led him to discover that the carpet sweeper he used in his caretaking job was the cause of his discomfort. He consequently clamped a pillow case to his cleaner to collect the dust. This provided the prototype for the first hand-held units that we recognise today.
5. Spangler set up his own business, which was eventually purchased by William Hoover along with his patent for the prototype. Spangler became an employee of Hoover and continued to design for this household name, creating early examples of the upright vacuum cleaners still sold by top retailers like Vax today.
6. Spangler’s first, hand-held design was suitable for home use, yet despite initial interest, sales were slow to get off the ground. Thanks to a forward-thinking marketing idea, one particular promotion proved to be a monumental success. The offer of a free, 10 day home trial resulted in almost every home ending up in possession of a vacuum cleaner. Today as many as 98% of households own a vacuum cleaner. The appliance ranks above all others in the UK in terms of its sales volume.
7. The introduction of disposable bags was made even more fuss free years later when bagless, dual cyclone machines hit the market. The wheel of technology continues to turn as ever more powerful and effective machines continue to outperform each other.
8. Back in 1913 one particularly popular vacuum cleaner was even available in a variety of six styles. It included all manner of attachments much as our modern day models do, but this specific style could even be employed as a blower for drying hair.
9. Vacuuming is both economical and effective. It keeps carpets and flooring clean and removes allergens and dust particles from the air and environment. In terms of weight, as much as 95% of dry soil can be extracted effectively from flooring using a vacuum cleaner.
10. Convenient cleaning certainly hasn’t reached its peak and with new vacuums able to remove allergens and other small particles from our homes, only time will tell what else is in store for these marvellous creations.