Depending on what area you lived in, today’s commonly known “vacuum” was also known as a sweeper or a hoover.
The first attempts at a mechanical solution for floor cleaning began in England in 1599. Before the invention of mechanical vacuum cleaners, rugs were lined along the walls and repeatedly smacked with a carpet beater to try and pound out as much dirt as possible from the rug.
A Chicago inventor, Ives McGaffey patented a “sweeping machine” on June 8th 1869 in the United States, as the first hand-pumped “whirlwind” vacuum cleaner. The contraption was made of wood and canvas.
As Time Marched On…
Some historians say that John Thurman would be the first person to invent a motorized vacuum cleaner when he invented his gasoline-powered vacuum cleaner on October 3, 1899.
He later went on to offer a horse-drawn vacuum system that featured door-to door service in St. Louis. It was stated that his vacuuming services were priced at $4 per visit in 1903.
Later, on August 30, 1901 a British engineer by the name of Hubert Cecil Booth patented a motorized vacuum that took the form of a large, horse-drawn, petrol-driven unit that was parked outside each building that fed long hoses through the windows.
Booth successfully demonstrated his vacuuming device that same year in a local restaurant.
There have been other American inventors that have introduced variations of the cleaning-by-suction type of vacuuming contraptions.
Corinne Dufour invented a machine that sucked dust and dirt into a wet sponge, while David Kenny designed a very large machine that was to be installed in a cellar and connected to a grouping of pipes that lead to each room of a house.
Those all seem pretty noisy and smelly to us! Not exactly our idea of successful vacuuming, by far!
In 1907, James Spangler of Ohio first introduced a handheld type unit. Due in part by his chronic coughing and believing it was his current “sweeper” that was the cause.
His first attempts resulted in Spangler using an old fan motor, attached to a soap box, then stapled to a broom handle! He then used a pillow case as the dust collector.
In 1908, Spangler’s improved basic model was the first to use both a cloth filter bag and cleaning attachments, and would award him a patent.
Along Comes the Hoover
After receiving his patent, James Spangler formed the Electric Suction Sweeper Company. His first buyer was his cousin, who happened to be married to William Hoover.
Hoover would eventually become the founder and president of The Hoover Company after James Spangler sold his patent rights to him. Spangler continued to design for the company.
With additional improvements to Spangler’s vacuum design, Hoover had successfully created a vacuum that much resembled a bagpipe attached to a cake box!
William Hoover would be the first to produce a commercial “bag-on-a-stick” upright vacuum cleaner.
Though sales were sluggish at first, Hoover made the smartest move a company could make by offering a ten-day, free home trial, that eventually landed a Hoover vacuum cleaner in nearly every home in America.
By 1919, Hoover vacuums were widely manufactured with “beater-bars” that cemented the time honoured slogan “It beats as it sweeps as it cleans”.
For the love of a Clean Home!
Jones Sew & Vac Team