Vacuum Cleaner Timeline

We don’t have vacuum cleaners too long now - a hundred and some years and today they are part of almost every household. Here is how vacuum cleaners came to be:

Picture Of The Dedusting Pump Vacuum Cleaner 1906
  • 1860 : Daniel Hess of West Union, Iowa, invented a carpet sweeper, a predecessor of vacuum cleaner, which had a rotating brush and bellows which generated suction but it was never mass produced.
  • 1869 : Ives W. McGaffey invented his ”Whirlwind”, a cleaner that had a hand-operated fan that although awkward to operate, sold better than Hess’ carpet sweeper (but not much better.)
  • 1876 : “Grand Rapids” were invented - a carpet sweeper that had brushes connected to wheels and when sweeper moves brushes rotate and clean the floor. Inventor of “Grand Rapids” was Melville R. Bissell.
  • 1898 : John S. Thurman of St. Louis, Missouri, invented a "pneumatic carpet renovator" which was gasoline powered and blow the air to clean the dust instead of creating vacuum.
  • 1900 : Corinne Dufour improves carpet sweeper by powering it with electricity and covering the rollers with sponge which were moistened with water to better collect the dust.
  • 1901 : Hubert Cecil Booth from England invented the first motorized vacuum cleaner driven by an internal combustion engine. It was placed on the horse carriage because of its size.
  • 1905 : Invented the first vacuum-cleaning device that could be carried without aid. It was invented by Walter Griffiths.
  • 1906 : James B. Kirby invented a "Domestic Cyclone"- a vacuum cleaner that used water to collect dirt.
  • 1908 : The first motorized, portable vacuum cleaner invented by James Murray Spangler, a janitor from Canton, Ohio. It had electric fan, a box, and a pillowcase to collect dust. He later sold the patent to William Henry Hoover.
  • 1909 : Founded Eureka Vacuum Company by Fred Wardell, businessman from Detroit.
  • 1910 : Charles Beach and Frederick Osius, and Louis Hamilton, invented a small motor that could ran on either AC or DC electrical power and which will later power many vacuum cleaners and make them smaller.
  • 1919 : Jim Kirby agreed to become a main designer of vacuum cleaners for George Scott and Carl Fetzer.
  • 1920 : Air-Way Sanitizor of Toledo, Ohio starts to manufacture vacuum cleaners with a disposable bag and was the first to do so.
  • 1921 : The first vacuum cleaner with metal sleds instead of wheels was invented (Lux V) which becomes a sort of a standard.
  • 1926 : Hoover invented a “beater bar” (marketed as “Positive Agitation”). It’s a metal bar attached to the rotating brush roll in the floor nozzle and it vibrates the carpet while sucking which removes dirt more efficiently.
  • 1930 : The first model of vacuum cleaner made of plastic appears on the market.
  • 1935 : The first vacuum cleaner by Scott and Fetzer to carry Kirby's name appeared in shops this year. It was the Kirby Model C.
  • 1950 : The first upright vacuum cleaners appear in production.
  • 1954 : The first hovercraft vacuum cleaner made by Hoover. It doesn’t have wheels but it floats on its own exhausts.
  • 1963 : In this year David Oreck started making industrial strength upright vacuum cleaners but which have reduced weight and are easier to use.
  • 1969 : The first self-propelled vacuums were made by Hoover.
  • 1978 : James Dyson starts experimenting with bagless vacuum cleaners. Until 1993 he built over 5000 prototypes and finally made his Dual Cyclone machine.
  • 1979 : Black & Decker starts selling small cordless vacuum cleaner that works on batteries.
  • 1997 : Year of the first robotic cleaner: Electrolux’s Trilobite. It appeared for the first time at BBC’s Tomorrow’s World.
  • 2002 : iRobot makes Roomba: a disc-shaped vacuum cleaner with AI and sensors that cleans the room without human involvement.
  • 2011 : Jake Tyler from Britain invents cardboard vacuum cleaner.