A vacuum cleaner is a device that uses an air pump (a centrifugal fan in all but some of the very oldest models), to create a partial vacuum to suck up dust and dirt, usually from floors, and from other surfaces such as upholstery and draperies. The dirt is collected by either a dustbag or a cyclone for later disposal. Vacuum cleaners, which are used in homes as well as in industry, exist in a variety of sizes and models—small battery-powered hand-held devices, wheeled canister models for home use, domestic central vacuum cleaners, huge stationary industrial appliances that can handle several hundred litres of dust before being emptied, and self-propelled vacuum trucks for recovery of large spills or removal of contaminated soil. Specialized shop vacuums can be used to suck up both dust and liquids.
The vacuum cleaner evolved from the carpet sweeper via manual vacuum cleaners. The first manual models, using bellows, were developed in the 1860s, and the first motorized designs appeared at the turn of the 20th century, with the first decade being the boom decade.
In 1860 a carpet sweeper was invented by Daniel Hess of West Union, Iowa that gathered dust with a rotating brush and a bellows for generating suction. Another early model (1869) was the “Whirlwind”, invented in Chicago in 1868 by Ives W. McGaffey. The bulky device worked with a belt driven fan cranked by hand that made it awkward to operate, although it was commercially marketed with mixed success. A similar model was constructed by Melville R. Bissell of Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1876. The company later added portable vacuum cleaners to its line of cleaning tools.
The next improvement came in 1898, when John S. Thurman of St. Louis, Missouri, submitted a patent (US No. 634,042) for a “pneumatic carpet renovator”. This was a gasoline powered cleaner although the dust was blown into a receptacle rather than being sucked in, as in the machine now used. In a newspaper advertisement from the St. Louis Dispatch, Thurman offered his invention of the horse-drawn (which went door to door) motorized cleaning system in St. Louis. He offered cleaning services at $4 per visit. By 1906 Thurman was offering built-in central cleaning systems that used compressed air, yet featured no dust collection. In later patent litigation, Judge Augustus Hand ruled that Thurman “does not appear to have attempted to design a vacuum cleaner, or to have understood the process of vacuum cleaning”.
The motorized vacuum cleaner was invented by Hubert Cecil Booth of England in 1901. As Booth recalled decades later, that year he attended “a demonstration of an American machine by its inventor” at the Empire Music Hall in London. The inventor is not named, but Booth’s description of the machine conforms fairly closely to Thurman’s design, as modified in later patents. Booth watched a demonstration of the device, which blew dust off the chairs, and thought that “…if the system could be reversed, and a filter inserted between the suction apparatus and the outside air, whereby the dust would be retained in a receptacle, the real solution of the hygienic removal of dust would be obtained.”He tested the idea by laying a handkerchief on the seat of a restaurant chair, putting his mouth to the handkerchief, and then trying to suck up as much dust as he could onto the handkerchief. Upon seeing the dust and dirt collected on the underside of the handkerchief, he realized the idea could work.
Domestic vacuum cleaner
The first vacuum-cleaning device to be portable and marketed at the domestic market was built in 1905 by Walter Griffiths, a manufacturer in Birmingham, England. His Griffith’s Improved Vacuum Apparatus for Removing Dust from Carpets resembled modern-day cleaners; – it was portable, easy to store, and powered by “any one person (such as the ordinary domestic servant)”, who would have the task of compressing a bellows-like contraption to suck up dust through a removable, flexible pipe, to which a variety of shaped nozzles could be attached.
In 1906 James B. Kirby developed his first of many vacuums called the “Domestic Cyclone” It used water for dirt separation. He held over 60 patents on everything from a wringerless washing machine to ironing and dry cleaning equipment.
SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA & GREATVACS.COM