A vacuum cleaner is a device that is primarily used for cleaning dirt and dust, by sucking it up in a partial vacuum. An air pump is used to create this vacuum. The electric motor is a key engineering contribution that has resulted in the modern domestic vacuum cleaner. Today, in developed countries you will find a domestic vacuum cleaner, using the vacuum principal, in most homes with a carpeted floor. This is a result of many engineering advances over a long period of time.
The very first machine using the vacuum principle was patented by Ives W. McGaffey in 1869. His cleaner was manually powered, operated by turning a hand crank. This design made it difficult to operate, as it had to be pushed along the floor at the same time as turning the handle. There were many machines of this type shortly afterwards, with the first electrically driven version carpet sweeper' patented in 1900.
The first powered cleaner containing an inbuilt cleaner was developed my Hubert Cecil Booth. His device was a large one, driven by an oil engine. It had to be drawn by horses due to its size and the invention, patented in 1901, never really took off.
Next to come was an electric vacuum cleaner made from a box, a pillow case and a fan. It was invented by a janitor named James Murray Spangler and was the first vacuum cleaner to incorporate a rotating brush to loosen dirt and dust caught up in carpet. He patented his idea in 1908 and eventually sold it to Hoover Harness and Leather Goods Factory', which to this day remains one of the leading manufacturers of household cleaners.
For many years after their introduction, vacuum cleaners remained a luxury item. After World War II however, vacuum cleaners became more accessible and more people in the middle classes were starting to use them.
In today's society, the vacuum cleaner can be found in many different forms that suit different types of consumer groups and niche markets. There are upright...