The Vacuum Cleaner: A History

Front Cover
McFarland, Sep 21, 2012 - Social Science - 240 pages
House cleaning has been an innate human activity forever but only since the early 19th century have mechanical devices replaced the physical labor (performed mostly by women). Mechanical carpet sweepers were replaced by manual suction cleaners, which in turn were replaced by electric vacuum cleaners in the early 20th century. Innovative inventors, who improved vacuum cleaners as electricity became commonly available, made these advances possible. Many early manufacturers failed, but some, such as Bissell, Hoover, Eureka and others, became household names as they competed for global dominance with improved features, performance and appearance. This book describes the fascinating people who made this possible, as well as the economic, cultural and technological contexts of their times. From obscure beginnings 200 years ago, vacuum cleaners have become an integral part of modern household culture.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Helcura - LibraryThing

I found this book to be quite variable. In some places it was fascinating, but in others it seemed to consist of arid lists of who manufactured what. I'd recommend that the casual reader do two things ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - TLCrawford - LibraryThing

I have always been interested in gadgets and when I saw “The Vacuum Cleaner: A History” I thought that it would be at least an amusing change of pace. Carroll Gantz’s book turned out to be much more ... Read full review

Contents

Preface
1
Introduction
3
Before Vacuum
5
Suction Cleaners After 1860
34
Electrics 19001920
59
Consolidation 19201940
86
Postwar 19401970
119
Globalization 19701990
150
1990 to the Present
176
Postscript
207
Notes
208
Bibliography
217
Index
222
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Carroll Gantz is a professional industrial designer who holds several dozen patents. A long-time Black & Decker design director, and a Carnegie Mellon University professor, he is a past president of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). He lives on Seabrook Island in South Carolina.

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