How Cordless Vacuums Came To Where We Are Today

Most people take a lot of pride in their homes, making sure that things are always neat and tidy. In the past, household chores weren’t so easy. Not only did they require a lot of time but they also took a lot of energy. It's only natural that someone would make an attempt at fixing that problem. Over the years many appliances have been designed out of that necessity. The vacuum cleaner, for instance, was designed to save time and improve results. Over time, even the vacuum cleaner has been improved for efficiency and convenience, eventually giving birth to the cordless vacuum.

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10 Birth Of The Carpet Sweeper

The first vacuum cleaners were known as carpet sweepers and were invented in 1860. Daniel Hess designed the manually operated machine to utilize spinning brushes and bellows to create a sucking effect. Eight years later, the “Whirlwind” was designed by Ives McGaffey.

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Larger and much heavier than the original model, McGaffey’s model had to be hand-cranked for the fan to function. This made it difficult to use. It was marketed to consumers with mixed reviews. An improved model was created by Melville Bissell in 1876. Already successful with previous models, Bissel would later add portable models to his product line.

9 Blow It Out

It was at the closing of the nineteenth century that powered models of carpet sweepers began to emerge. Ironically, the initial models were designed to use some form of air pressure or another to blow the dust, as opposed to sucking in. A patent request was submitted in Missouri in 1898, for one such machine.

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The model, developed by John Thurman, operated on a built-in engine. Each of the following two years, patents were given to Corine Dufour, in Georgia, for a similar air blowing carpet sweeper. However, Dufour’s model was the first cleaner to use an electrically powered motor.

8 Suck It Up

The idea to use suction came to two men at the same time. British engineer, Hubert Booth, and American inventor, David Kenney designed their models in 1901. History suggests that Booth was the first to use the phrase “vacuum cleaner.” Nevertheless, the machines were quite the opposite.

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Booth’s model functioned on a combustion engine and was pulled by horses. It was reminiscent of Thurman’s model. The air was taken into a pipe and filtered through a cloth. Like Thurman, he offered in-home services to clients. Kenney’s model weighed two tons, was fueled by steam and featured arm extensions to reach longer distances.

7 Do It Yourself

Over the next 25 years, a number of people would design various models for use in the home. The first was Walter Griffiths in 1905. His model was reminiscent of today’s except the operator had to compress a mechanism that resembled the old-styled bellows to suction the dust into a detachable hose. The hose could be fitted with various attachments.

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The name for Griffiths’ machine was rather lengthy. He dubbed it “ Griffiths’ Improved Vacuum Apparatus for Removing Dust from Carpets.” The following year, James Kirby designed his first vacuum cleaning model, the “Domestic Cyclone.” Kirby’s model separated dirt by using water.

6 Here Comes Hoover

The first portable electric carpet sweeper was designed by a retail store custodian, James Sprangler, in 1907. He received a patent in 1908 for his “Electric Suction Sweeper.” Spangler couldn’t afford production and sold the patent to William Hoover. Hoover made several modifications to the original design and founded the Hoover Company in 1922.

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The company’s first machines, publicly marketed in 1908, were priced at $60. More modifications would be made over the years. Expendable bags were introduced in the 20s and in 1926, the first upright model appeared. Fisher and Nielsen were the first to sell vacuums in Europe.

5 Gaining Popularity

After WWII, vacuum cleaners became popular with the middle class. They were more popular in Western culture. Most other cultures around the world had tiling or wood floors because they were easier to keep clean but a lot of homes in the US had moved onto wall-to-wall carpeting.

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At the end of the 20th century, technology began to make its mark on the industry. Developments included dirt separation that didn’t need a filter, hand-held models and rechargeable batteries. In 1997, the first cordless, robotic vacuum was premiered on a television program known as “Tomorrow’s World.” A Swedish establishment, Electrolux, introduced the Electrolux Trilobite. It became available to the public in 2001.

4 Modern Advances

There have been a number of technological advances in vacuum cleaner design. A variety of models have emerged over the years, including the upright, canister and drum. Wet/dry vacuum cleaners were designed not only to clean carpets but can be used to suck up liquid too.

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Backpack models are often for commercial use as the strap-on design makes it easier to maneuver around large spaces. It is merely a smaller version of the canister model with straps. At one time, as part of a special giveaway, a USB powered hand-held vacuum was marketed to consumers. Rechargeable-battery powered models became popular in the early ’80s.

3 No Strings Attached

As with anything, convenience is important. Although vacuum cleaners make certain chores easier, manufacturers were still looking for a way to improve their product. How could the current product be improved? What could be done to make it more efficient and convenient? Out of these questions came the cordless models.

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However, contrary to popular belief, this was not a new concept. Hoover introduced the “Constellation” in 1954. This vacuum that had no wheels hovered over the area to be cleaned atop its exhaust. The floating model was updated and modified until it was taken off of the market in 1975.

2 Robotics

Between the end of the '90s and the start of the 2000s, multiple establishments designed robotic models. They were commonly created with a limited amount of power. Moving on their own, the dust was stored in a built-in bin. Many of the models can maneuver around blockages and return to a base to charge. Some are capable of cleaning their own bins.

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This is a huge step forward, as it allows for cleaning to happen automatically, without any time or effort on the part of the homeowner - many of the robots even charge themselves when needed!

1 The Cordless

In 2012, Black and Decker enlisted the aid of Carrol Gantz. The collaboration gave birth to the first modern vacuum to operate minus the cord. The hand-held model became the best selling product the establishment had ever manufactured. Globally, it had more than one hundred million sales. The “Dust Buster” is still a part of the Black and Decker catalog.

Of course, the convenience of a cordless vacuum is what draws consumers to it. There are some disadvantages, as well. Without a direct power supply, the length of time that a cordless vacuum can be used is limited. Depending on the brand, users can get anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours of usage.

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