A Vacuum Cleaner or Tea Leaves?

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

If you have carpet in your home, a vacuum helps you keep it clean, fresh and lasting. The vacuum was not always around, obviously, but its history is a great story of ingenuity and invention.

Here are some interesting facts about the history of the vacuum cleaner.

  • Before electricity, an alternative to beating the carpet over a porch rail, clothesline or windowsill was to sprinkle a carpet with tea leaves. In theory, this attracted dust and dirt to the surface ready to be swept.
  • In the mid-1800s, vacuum cleaners could be found housed in exquisite cabinetry that doubled as a coffee table, sidebar or cocktail bar.
  • The first non-electric vacuum cleaner, a “sweeping machine,” was the Whirlwind model, invented in Chicago in 1869. It had a crank for the operator to turn with one hand while pushing the machine with the other hand. Due to the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, only two of these machines exist today.
  • 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.
  • One popular 1913 vacuum came in six different models and had attachments for bare floors, walls, upholstery and crevices. It could even be used as a blower for drying hair.

It’s easier to take care of carpet with today’s vacuum technology, but be sure you’re using the best with a Seal of Approval certified vacuum cleaner.

Source: The Carpet and Rug Institute