source : http://inventors.about.com/od/uvstartinventions/a/Vacuum-Cleaners.htm
By definition, “a vacuum cleaner (also called a vacuum or hoover or a sweeper) is a device that uses an air pump to create a partial vacuum to suck up dust and dirt, usually from floors.”
The first attempts to provide a mechanical solution to floor cleaning were begun in England in 1599. Before vacuum cleaners, rugs were hung over a wall or line and hit repeatedly with a carpet beater to pound out as much dirt as possible.
The First Vacuum
The world’s first vacuum cleaner was invented in 1866. A man named Ives W. McGaffney created this manual vacuum that worked by using a hand crank attached to bellows to suck the air from a tube. The atmospheric pressure pushed air on the surface up into the tube due to the difference in air pressure caused by the cranking. While the vacuum worked to pick up dirt and debris from the floor at the end of the hose, the debris was simply redistributed out of a vent on the device. This method of “cleaning” remained the standard in vacuuming until the vacuum filter was introduced by Hubert Cecil Booth in 1901, according to the Inventor Strategies website.
f u n f a c t s
In 1938, 27 percent of homes with electricity owned a vacuum cleaner, rising to 40 percent 10 years later. Today, according the Vacuum Cleaner Manufactures Association, 98% of households own a vacuum cleaner.
The first non-electric vacuum cleaner, a “sweeping machine,” was the Whirlwind model, invented in Chicago in 1869. It had a crank to turn with one hand while pushing with the other hand. Due to the great Chicago fire in 1871, only two of these machines exist today.
After the electric iron, the vacuum cleaner was the most popular electric appliance in the home from 1920 to 1960.
One popular 1913 vacuum came in six different models and had attachments for bare floors, walls, upholstery and crevices. It even could be used as a blower for drying hair. In the mid-1800s, vacuum cleaners could be found housed in exquisite cabinetry that doubled as a coffee table, sidebar or cocktail bar.
Vacuuming is the single-most effective and economical means of keeping floor coverings clean and removing dust and allergens from the indoor environment. It has been proven that 90% to 95% of all dry soil by weight can be removed from carpet by routine vacuuming.
The concept of today’s electric vacuum cleaner was invented in 1901 by H.C. Booth and took the form of a large, horse-drawn, petrol-driven unit that was parked outside the building. The unit fed long hoses through the windows of the room to be cleaned.
Before electricity, an alternative to beating the carpet over a porch rail, clothesline, or windowsill was to sprinkle a carpet with tealeaves. In theory, this attracted dust and dirt to the surface ready to be swept.
Vacuum cleaners have the largest sales volume of any major appliance in this country, with the U.S. ranking No. 1 in worldwide sales. In 1996, 15 million full-sized vacuum cleaners were sold here. About 7 million were sold in Germany and in Japan, ranking these No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.