A device that uses an air pump to create a partial vacuum to suck up dust and dirt is called A vacuum cleaner or sweeper. There is a centrifugal fan in all (but some of the very oldest models) which sucks up dust and dirt from all kind of surfaces such as upholstery, draperies, and floors. There is a dustbag or a cyclone for collecting dirt for later disposal. Vacuum cleaners exist in different sizes and models like small battery powered hand-held devices, wheeled canister models, domestic central vacuum cleaners, huge stationary one for industrial use and specialized shop vacuums.

In 1599, in England, the first attempts to make a mechanical solution to floor cleaning were made. Before 1599, rugs were cleaned by hitting them with a carpet beater after hanging them on the wall to pound as much dirt as possible. Chicago-based inventor Ives McGaffey, on June 8, 1869, patented a “sweeping machine”. Though this was not a motorized vacuum cleaner, this was the first patent for a device that cleaned rugs. Today this machine is known as the first hand-pumped vacuum cleaner which was called ‘a wood and canvas contraption’ by McGaffey.



Some historians consider a gasoline powered vacuum cleaner, invented in 1899 by John Thurman, the first motorized vacuum cleaner. After patenting his machine on October 3, 1899, he started a horse-drawn vacuum system for a door to door service in St Louis. He charged $4 per visit in 1903.

In 1901, Hubert Cecil, a British engineer, patented a motorized vacuum cleaner which took the form of a large, horse-drawn, petrol driven unit. He parked it outside the building which needs to be cleaned and long hoses being fed through the windows. He showed how well it can dirt by vacuuming in a restaurant. More American inventors like Corinne Dufour and David Kenney later introduced variations of the same cleaning-by-suction type contraptions. Earlier versions of vacuum cleaners were bulky, noisy, smelly and unsuccessful.

James spangler, in 1907, deduced that the source of his chronic coughing was the carpet sweeper he was using. So he attached it to a soap box after tinkering with and old fan motor. He invented a new portable an electric vacuum cleaner as he added a pillow case as a dust collector. He received the patent in 1908. Spangler soon formed the Electric Suction Sweeper Company and his first buyer was his cousin. Spangler eventually sold his patent rights to the founder and president of the Hoover company, Mr. William Hoover who was also the husband of his cousin. Spangler continued to design for the company. Hoover design worked although it looked like a bagpipe attached to a cake box. The sales were given a kick by Hoover’s 10-day free home trial, while the sales were sluggish in the initial stage. Eventually there was a Hoover vacuum cleaner in nearly every home.