How The Vacuum Cleaner First Worked And 12 Other Interesting Facts About The Beloved Cleaning Tool

Ives W. McGaffney can be credited as the man that created the vacuum cleaner. Before vacuum cleaners were invented, families had to painstakingly sweep their floors and take the rugs outside and hit them with a carpet beater to loosen the dirt and dust build up.

McGaffney’s invention didn’t first look and operate how you might think. The first vacuum cleaner was operated by a hand crank. When cranked, bellows sucked up air through the tube (much like if you pinch a turkey baster to suck up the liquid).

Vacuum Cleaner

However, there was no air filter, so the finer dust and debris just got released back into your home through a vent. So it worked brilliantly, sort of.

Today, vacuum cleaners come in all shapes, sizes and models. From little hand-held dust busters to steam cleaners to industrial machines that clean large buildings, there are is a suction and cleaning device for just about every need.

Here are some more fun facts about vacuums:

  • There are over 92 brands of vacuum cleaners.
  • Vacuuming is considered to be the “single-most effective and economical means of keeping  floor coverings clean and removing dust and allergens from the indoor environment.”
  • William Hoover was the first one to include rotating brushes in his vacuums.
  • Hoover also produced the first changeable bags.
  • Puffing Billy” was the first powered vacuum. H.C. Booth invented the massive machine. It ran on gasoline and was towed by horse-drawn carriage. Its hoses had to be fed through the windows and as a marketing tactic, Booth used transparent hoses so customers could see the dirt being sucked up.
  • Booth got his inspiration while riding on a train. He put a handkerchief across his mouth and sucked up as much dust into it as he could. The vacuum filter was born shortly after.
  • Booth’s home cleaning service was so successful that he was asked to clean Westminster Abbey and London’s Crystal Palace.
  • The first blow dryer was actually a hose connected to the exhaust vent on the back of a vacuum.
  • The US ranks #1 in vacuum sales.
  • Germany and Japan rank #2 and #2 in annual vacuum sales.
  • The first portable vacuum was created in 1905.
  • The Electrolux Trilobite was the first robotic vacuum cleaner. It is named after an extinct arthropod.

Evolution of Inventions