History of Vacuum Cleaners

Nearly every household in the West has a vacuum cleaner. It is such a useful piece of equipment that that not only saves your effort, but also saves your time. A vacuum cleaner depends on a partial vacuum to suck up dirt and dust. The partial vacuum is created by an air pump.

A vacuum cleaner can be the most reliable tool to clean carpets, rooms, and floors. You can use the vacuum cleaner to clean anything as long as they have dust, yarn, threads, and small particles. The dust collected by the cleaner is stored in a dust bag and later disposed of.

Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuum cleaners have come a long way since its inception. Now there are numerous models and sizes of a vacuum cleaner available on the market in the USA. You can find vacuum cleaners ranging from hand-held models and battery-powered to industrial models.

All these vacuum cleaners are designed to take in several hundred liters of dust. The vacuum cleaners can help you clean large spills. Moreover, they can help you remove contaminated soil.

Vacuum Cleaner History

Vacuum cleaners are an 19th century invention. Since its beginning date from the 19the century, vacuum cleaners took a century to become essential household appliances. Since their inception, vacuum cleaners have gone through developments and improvements.

The vacuum cleaners now we have today offer much healthier options. The complete history of vacuum cleaners are discussed later in the section of this article.

Who Invented Vacuum Cleaners?

As I said above, vacuum cleaners of today are the results of numerous developments. Therefore, there is no single inventor we could attribute the inventor title to. Inventors of different type and background made the vacuum cleaner we use today realized and possible.

Inventors were natural engineers. Some were just janitors. But, the credit to goes to those unnamed persons. Not all heroes wear capes, right?

 A Brief History of Vacuum Cleaners

Daniel Hess could be remembered as the first one who invented something similar to today’s vacuum cleaners. He invented the first mechanical device, which was used for cleaning carpets. The device was known as the carpet sweeper. It was back in 1860 when the carpet sweeper was introduced to domestic use.

The carpet sweeper invented by Daniel Hess relied on rotating brush and bellows to generate suction. 9 years after the carpet sweeper, Ives W. McGaffe invented “whirlwind”. Whirlwind used to rely on belt driven fan. The fan was powered by hand.

Then, it went quite some time until something else was invented. In 1898, John S. Thurman invented a gasoline powered machine. Well, the “cleaner” was so big that horses were used to transport the machine. The machine was not something you’d call cleaner.

Since all it used to do was blew the air, and that’s how it used to clean.

The vacuum cleaner that was the closest to what we use today was the cleaner invented by Hubert Cecil Booth. The Englishman invented a cleaner that used to work on the same principle today’s cleaners do. It was back in 1901 – so longer than a century now.

The Englishman was inspired by the machine invented by Thurman. He witnessed a demonstration of a Thurman’s machine at the Empire Music Hall in London. The concept really stuck with Booth that he had attempted to build something like that immediately.

Vacuum cleaners of today rely on negative pressure to suck dust and dirt into the garbage bag. So, how did Booth come across this concept of negative pressure?

Booth was having dinner at a restaurant. The idea that he had from the exhibition was immediately put to test at the restaurant. Booth placed a handkerchief on a seat of a chair at the restaurant. He put his mouth on the handkerchief and sucked the air in.

Booth was surprised to see how much dust gathered on the handkerchief. He was confident that his idea wouldn’t be futile.

The initial cleaner he invented was relying on an internal combustion engine. The engine powered a piston pump, which sucked air through a cloth filter. The whole machine was driven by a horse. And, people used to call the machine “Puffing Billy.”

Yes, the cleaner was tremendous too. One couldn’t insert the machine in the buildings. The tubes of the machine were inserted through the windows. So, you could get the idea that the cleaner was not suitable for use by the average homeowner.

Booth tried to improve his machine. He then shifted to electricity instead of horse-driven power. Although the power was changed, the machine remained big, so unsuitable for use by the average homeowner.

Booth’s cleaner was used as a cleaning service. And, the machine was installed in the building.

People didn’t have to wait too long for a portable cleaner. The vacuum cleaner that could be carried around easily was developed by Walter Griffiths in 1905. The cleaner relied on bellows to suck in dust. In order to suck up dust, the machine took advantage of a flexible pipe.

Then, in 1906, James B. Kirby invented the “Domestic Cyclone”. The vacuum machine used water to separate dirt. But, today, we vacuums that use filters.

James Murray Spangler, a janitor from Canto, Ohio, designed a portable vacuum cleaner that used a motor.

Final Thought

The vacuum cleaner was a luxury product at the beginning of the 20th century. But, the product has slowly become an idespensible household item after the World War II. It continues to make our lives easier. It’s history is quite a fascinating one!

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