A Brief History of the Vacuum Cleaners

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Everyone must have come across the ubiquitous vacuum cleaners that are used so common now. An easy means to clean up the household dust and dirt every day, the history of vacuum cleaners also is subtle.

Although attempts were made to prepare machines to clean houses since the start of the 16th century, it was not before the latter half of the 18th century that some success was achieved. A somewhat initial model invented in 1860 by Daniel Hess in Iowa was called a carpet sweeper. Later that very decade in 1869, Ives McGaffey came up with his version called “Whirlwind’. Although the device was a moderate success, it had to be operated manually for a belt driven fan to work which was a bit awkward.

The next major activity in the vacuum cleaning was brought about in 1899, when John Thurman from Missouri submitted a patent application for his pneumatic carpet renovator. He developed the first motor driven cleaner, though it actually blew dust in a receptacle rather than sucking it in like modern machines. Thurman even charged $4 per visit in 1903, when he started door to door cleaning service with a horse-drawn cart as a means to carry the machine. 

The first motorized vacuum cleaner is accredited to the British engineer Hubert Cecil Booth. He got a patent for a large horse drawn machine which used petrol to clean dust by suction on August 30, 1901. These all and many more heavy cleaning machines came along, but the real change was brought with the portability function incorporated by James Spangler in 1907, when he came up with a motorized vacuum cleaner. The first suction model he built was using an electric fan motor, a soap box, and a broomstick. Then he further modified it to add a cloth filter bag and cleaning attachment, acquiring the patent for it in 1908. The more refined and improved version of the vacuum cleaner is what we see today in the common households.

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