Travel back in time.. and discover how difficult cleaning was!

Today is “Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day” so buckle your time machine seatbelt because we’re going back to a time when clunky and inefficient vacuums roamed carpets worldwide.


We start over 150 years in the past, to a time when electricity hadn’t made it to the vacuum cleaner yet, which was operated with a variety of pumps. These hand-pumped or foot-pumped vacuum cleaners have been around since the mid-1800s.

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Images from Museum of Clean


Let’s move ahead a bit, to the early 1900s and take a peek at the first electric vacuum cleaner. The picture below is the very first Hoover–the “Model O”– invented by James Spangler, who was a janitor in Ohio. Spangler’s first prototype used an old fan motor along with pillowcase to collect dust, mounted on a soapbox on a broom handle. He improved upon this design and got a patent in 1908, then started the Electric Suction Sweeper Company. His cousin’s husband was the soon- to-be-famous William H. Hoover, and history has made Hoover a household name (and also a verb– the Brits use “hoover” instead of “vacuum.”)


Image from Cyberspace Vacuum Cleaner Museum


Our next-to-last stop is 1946, where we discover a feature in Life magazine that tells us what we already know– that cleaning is the worst job. Back in 1946, the “most common task a housewife endures and the one which takes up most of her day is the petty, tedious business of cleaning— waxing floors, washing dishes, dusting, mopping.”


Image from Sept 9, 1946 issue of Life magazine

You no longer have to get down on your hands and knees to wax a floor properly, thank goodness. You can also hire a family-owned local business to take care of it for you!

Present day (2015)

And now we set the time machine to return to present day, where innovation at Dyson has invented the unlikeliest of machines- a powerful, battery-operated, bagless vacuum. Their DC59 Motorhead costs over $500. The New York Times looked into why it cost so much, and one reason is because Dyson has spent a lot of money on research and development “ to create what could be called a physically impossible machine.” Usually a good vacuum requires a big motor, but the folks at Dyson have created a motor–about the size of a fist–that is also one of the fastest commercial motors ever made, over 5x a Formula One race car’s engine.

Image from dyson

We are extremely glad to be living in the modern era where you can not only benefit from an electric vacuum, but you can also outsource your cleaning and discover the best local cleaner simply by searching online. Need to sweep away all those cobwebs and dust from our time travel adventure? Get cleaned up with a visit from one of our top-rated cleaners.


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