After the introduction of carpeting in homes and businesses,the logical next step was something to help us keep them clean. This”something” was the vacuum cleaner. It may come as a surprise to manythat the vacuum cleaner was actually first built in the mid 1800s. In fact, theoriginal vacuum cleaner was invented prior to the US civil war. In 1860 a manby the name of Daniel Hess was granted a patent by the US patent office for his”carpet sweeper.” This was the first device of its kind to usesuction to clean carpets. While, this was a welcome alternative to the burdenof manually sweeping carpets to clean them, it was indeed a very crude designthat would need much improvement to become practical.
In the years that followed, there were some other designs,but the first real success story comes about 20 years later. That is whenMelville Bissell invented his push version of the vacuum cleaner for his wife.The Bissell name is still going strong to this day. Melville’s device was sopopular that he started Bissell as a company and later his wife ran it andbecame one of the most success women in business in her day. Bissell’s designwas an improvement and was successful, but it still wasn’t quite what you think of Impact crusher compared to what we use in our homes today. But it was pretty impressive forthe 1870s.
Over the following years there were several attempts atmaking a better vacuum cleaning device, but it was James Spangler in 1907 thatfinally invented a device that resembles the models that we use in our homes today.It was portable, used suction, had a bag for the dust and debris that wassucked up (made using a pillowcase), and had a rotating brush to help loosenand lift the dirt from the carpet.
Unfortunately for James, he was a janitor by trade and not abusinessman. He did not have the resources to pursue his invention and decidedto sell his invention to his cousin Hoover who became very rich from theinvention. Hoover is still going strong in the vacuum cleaning business and remainsone of the most recognized names in vacuums to this day. It was also James thatwe can thank for helping with the invention of the disposable bags that we usetoday as well as the upright model of vacuum cleaner.
Today there are many different designs and somuch technology involved that vacuum cleaners have literally become modernmarvels. There are even models that use robotics to clean your carpets andmodels that float above your carpet and clean. We take many things for grantedthese days since they have been around for as long as we have been alive but itis always interesting to learn a little bit about the origins of some of thethings we use every day. And if you own a carpet, a vacuum cleaner is one ofthose things.