The Vacuum Cleaner

954 Words2 Pages

The Vacuum Cleaner


The vacuum cleaner is a household appliance that cleans by suction. It is generally used on a textured surface, such as carpet, and is pushed over the surface, sucking up dust and dirt as it goes. The suction is created by an air pump, a partial vacuum; it creates a difference in pressure between the inside of the machine and the outside air and dirt and dust is taken in to the lower pressure zone. Friction on the carpet causes the dust to be removed from the carpet, or other surface.

History and Developments

The very first machine using the vacuum principle was patented by Ives W. McGaffey in 1869. His cleaner was manually powered, operated by turning a hand crank. This design made it difficult to operate, as it had to be pushed along the floor at the same time as turning the handle. There were many machines of this type shortly afterwards, with the first electrically driven version ‘carpet sweeper' patented in 1900.

The first powered cleaner containing an inbuilt cleaner was developed my Hubert Cecil Booth. His device was a large one, driven by an oil engine. It had to be drawn by horses due to its size and the invention, patented in 1901, never really took off.

Next to come was an electric vacuum cleaner made from a box, a pillow case and a fan. It was invented by a janitor named James Murray Spangler and was the first vacuum cleaner to incorporate a rotating brush to loosen dirt and dust caught up in carpet. He patented his idea in 1908 and eventually sold it to ‘Hoover Harness and Leather Goods Factory', which to this day remains one of the leading manufacturers of household cleaners.

Changing Designs and their Impacts on Society

Shapes of vacuum cleaners have been the main changes in design, from upright vacuums for commercial purposes to the preferred home vacuums, the canister vacuum. Other developments, such as cyclonic vacuums and robotic vacuum cleaners, have all been introduced due to the changing consumer expectations. Today, it is possible to purchase a vacuum cleaner in most colours.

Open Document