A History of Vacuum Cleaners Part Three: They Still Suck Today - Parker & Sons Skip to content

A History of Vacuum Cleaners Part Three: They Still Suck Today

As of 1901 the world had seen vacuum cleaners that would blow, vacuum cleaners which were too large to fit inside any building, and vacuum cleaners which were so loud they were known to frighten horses. Clearly there was still some room for improvement.

The portable electric vacuum cleaner was invented in 1907 by a department store janitor named James Murray Spangler. It incorporated many innovations which we still see today in the modern vacuum.  Spangler sold the patent for the vacuum to one William Henry Hoover, who in 1922 founded a company that would one day be known as Hoover. The Modern Age of vacuum cleaning had begun.

Modern vacuum cleaners come in wide variety of shapes, sizes, styles, utilities, and models. Some of the most common variations are: upright, canister, drum, wet/dry, pneumatic, backpack, hand-held, robotic, cyclonic, and central.

Upright vacuum cleaners are the most common type of modern vacuum cleaner. When an individual is asked to picture a vacuum cleaner in their head, the upright vacuum is typically what appears. Standard upright vacuum cleaners use a drive-belt powered system that incorporates suction and a rotating brush roll.

Wet/dry vacuum cleaners are most often referred to as “Shop-Vacs.” These are specially designed vacuum cleaners which specialize in cleaning up liquid spills.   

A particularly interesting version of the modern vacuum cleaner is the robotic vacuum. These vacuums started debuting in the early 2000’s. They feature small self-contained vacuum units attached to a motor. These robots are programmed to navigate around the house constantly vacuuming and debris that may reach the floor. Roomba was one of the pioneers of the robotic vacuum. Still today their brand is almost intrinsically linked to robotic vacuums.

One thing is for sure, from the past to the present, and encompassing everything in between – vacuum cleaners have always sucked. 

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