Lovers of antiques, history buffs, and anyone who wishes they lived in another time are always looking for ways to increase the collection of their favorite items. The beautiful display items give an elegant look to the house and add to the retro appeal if the antique is from the recent past.
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There are a lot of factors that attract consumers to a vintage product. The unique design brings back memories of the era the owner wanted to be a part of, while the features are a major throwback to simpler times.
The same is the case with vintage vacuum cleaners; the look and feel of the cleaner triggers childhood memories, while the powerful vroom sound indicates the strong suction. The shared love and appreciation for the beasts of the past have led to the existence of countless clubs created specifically for sharing and collecting vacuum cleaners.
These clubs have regular meetings where vintage vacuum hobbyists discuss their machines, and what they believe the models of today can learn from them. There are incredible museums around the world too, that pay homage to this great invention that revolutionized the industry for domestic goods.
Getting your hands on an old vacuum cleaner is much like finding an old friend who did a lot for you back in the day. Fixing and looking after the vacuum cleaner becomes a hobby, and you start collecting other items just for the sheer joy of it. Although some might consider it a strange hobby, it means a lot to people who are passionate about their vintage collectible vacuum cleaners.
History of Vacuum Cleaners
Some people’s interest and love for vacuum cleaners stems from the rich history they have. Vacuum cleaners belonged to the glorious generation of the early 20th century when a scientist named H. Cecil Booth created the first power operated vacuum cleaner. The first machine was powered by an engine which used large hoses that were fed into the house through doors and windows.
Soon after the creation, many patents emerged from different parts of the world. Several continents had now decided to be a part of this new movement for sucking up dust and debris. The machines earned various names which included the Dust Killer, Little Giant, and Apparatus for removing dust.
These machines were of different types, most of them were hand-powered, while the others were gas, oil, and even foot-powered systems. Regardless of the kind of machine you chose, using them was a lot of work just to clean a carpet.
In the early 1920s, the machines developed into the more lightweight, powerful, and easy to use versions similar to the ones we use today. Today there are thousands of different vacuum cleaners available, each of which targets the specific need of the user.
Collectible Vintage Vacuum Cleaner Models
The transformation timeline of vacuum cleaners spans a period of over 100 years. Here are some of the top collectible vacuum cleaners that have left a legacy behind:
1. Electrolux 1950s Model
Swedish based company Electrolux has made vacuum cleaners since 1918. The company launched to positive reviews in the UK in the 1960s. However, the brand used the slogan ‘Nothing sucks like the Electrolux’. The word ‘sucks’ like today had a negative connotation attached to it; this led many to believe that the slogan was a branding mistake.
The campaign of the product, however, was well planned and aimed at pulling the attention of the consumers. The confidence and loyalty that the company built back then have allowed Electrolux to continue dominating the vacuum cleaning industry until today.
Before its launch in the UK, the series was already a hit in the US. The vacuum cleaners launched during the 50s made Electrolux a dominating force in the vacuuming cleaning industry. In addition to the powerful features, the incredible design made the vacuum cleaners a must-have for all households.
The Electrolux vacuum cleaners are popular amongst their users for the high quality they offer. Today, most of the vacuum cleaners from Electrolux are sold through independently owned franchises. There are over 500 Aerus dealers in the USA and Canada alone.
In 1909 a man by the name of Fred Warrell started a company called Eureka Vacuum cleaners in Detroit, Michigan. The light and improved design of the vacuum cleaner impressed one and all, as Eureka vacuums were awarded the grand prize at San Francisco International Expedition.
During the 1940s, the company shifted to a national cause by building war items such as gas masks. After the war, the owners returned to the original manufacturing business of vacuum cleaners and associated products.
In 1974, the company was purchased by AB Electrolux. During the next 20 years, the company grew in business by increasing manufacturing with plants in Texas, Mexico, and Illinois. Since 2004, Eureka officially changed its name to Electrolux home care products North America. The year 2009 marked the 100th anniversary of the Eureka Vacuum Cleaner Company.
2. Hoover Vacuums
Hoover vacuums have stamped their legacy in many parts of the world because of their revolutionary operation and sleek design. The vacuum cleaner got its start in a small store in Canton, Ohio around 1907.
Murray Sprangler, tired of the allergies and the dust around him, created a device called the suction sweeper. Impressed by the device, Boss Hoover began producing the equipment soon after. While Sprangler was the creator of the Hoover vacuums, it was Hoover who created the hype.
In 1908, Hoover stuck gold with a brilliant marketing technique that allowed the customer to use the vacuum free of charge for ten days. This marketing campaign did the trick and created the magic that Hoover was looking for.
In 1926 Hoover created the beater bar. This bar thumped the carpet to clean the dirt. Following the thumping was a brush that came along to pick up even more dirt. Although there were many powerful competitors, it was the brush that gave Hoover the required edge. Hoover was also responsible for creating the headlight you see on the front of some vacuum models along with the throwaway dust bags and attachment holder that was built in.
Here is a list of some of the best Hoover models that were successful in leaving a legacy behind:
The Hoover 800 is often used to represent the height of the popularity of vacuum cleaners from Hoover. The Hoover 800 was released during the 1950s and it helped the brand in cementing its name as a generic term for vacuum cleaners around the world.
1954 Model 82 Hoover Constellation
Keeping in mind the society’s obsession with space, the manufacturers of Hoover designed the Hoover Constellation. The first models were not very effective, but as time went on, improvements were made. In the mid 1970s, however, the production of the model was discontinued.
Hoover Dustette 1926 Model
The Hoover Dustette was the first handheld vacuum designed and sold by Hoover. The machine was equipped with an incredibly durable motor that was very powerful.
3. Kirby Vacuums
Kirby Vacuums is another company that has stayed on top of the list for quite some time now. The Kirby Company is part of the Scott Fretzer Company, and the Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, looked after by none other than billionaire Warren Buffet.
The company is located in Cleveland, OH, and manufactures the vacuums that some of us have grown up with. In addition to the vacuum cleaners, the company also manufactures other housing equipment. The attractiveness of the Kirby vacuum lies in the retro look that so many of us admire. The units are not only known for their historical nature but also for their power, durability, and long lifetime value.
There are only three different series of the Kirby Vacuum Cleaner Models, which are the Pre-500 models, the 500 Series Models, and the Post-562 Models.
4. My Little Queen Series by Bissell
The carpet cleaning machine by Bissell was designed to assist the manufacturer’s wife clean her crockery shop. It ended up working so well, that the early carpet cleaning machine was patented in 1876 as the Bissell Carpet Sweeper.
The Bissell’ Little Queen’ carpet sweeper and ‘Shampoo Master’ proved to be very popular in the 1960s.
5. Singer Deluxe Model Vacuum Cleaner
In its early years, Singer was the premier manufacturer of sewing machines. In later years, the company expanded its product portfolio to include a range of household appliances. The Singer Deluxe vacuum was popular in the 1960s. In 1976 this vacuum would cost you $69.95, which converts to $364 today, when adjusted for inflation.
Different Types of Vacuum Cleaners
Of the various forms of vacuum cleaners available today, it is canister and upright vacuum cleaners that are the most popular. A brief look at the nature of the two types will explain to you the significance of vacuum cleaners from the past.
Upright Vacuum Cleaners
Some upright vacuums are much lighter and easier to maneuver; this makes them ideal for faster cleaning. The larger dirt-bags allow you to save on replacement bags too. If you are looking to buy an upright model, ensure that it has all the attachments you think you will need, and thatit fits your budget too.
Upright vacuum cleaners are also popular for saving space; a little corner of storage space is good enough for these vacuum cleaners. If you consider bending down to change the filter bag a challenge for yourself, then you should look to get yourself one of these machines
Canister Vacuum Cleaners
Canister vacuums are generally more common than upright models. In addition to being lightweight and maneuverable, the key feature that makes canister vacuums stand out is that they can vacuum corners and hard-to-reach spaces. Canister vacuums can clean under tables, beds, and couches due to the powerhead that is separate from the motor housing.
This makes the job of cleaning much more comfortable and faster for you. Some locations are inaccessible to the upright vacuums because the unit is all in one piece. When using the canister, you are left just with the hose and the powerhead. The storage of the canister is convenient too, as most of them can stand on the end while placed in the corner.
If lightweight and maneuverable is what you are looking for, then canister vacuums are definitely the way to go. There are price ranges that you can find in the vacuum types which are unavailable in the other products.
Hopefully, the information above is enough to help you make a decision. However, the model you choose depends on the type of home and your needs too. If you have a multi-level house, then the canister is the right choice. If you want an upright vacuum cleaner, then you may want to try out one of the lightweight units.
How Does a Vacuum Cleaner Work
The basic principle that lies behind the operation of a vacuum cleaner is suction. A glimpse at traditional vacuum models indicates that a vacuum cleaner relies on three essential components to function. The canister, a motor, and a fan.
To create an actual vacuum cleaner, all you need to do is place the canister in the fan. The operation of vacuum requires space for all the dirt to come in and go out. Aiding the operation are accessories like filters and bags to clean the air and catch the debris.
The operation, although complicated, has evolved over the years. The explanation above solves the mystery of how vacuum cleaners have operated for more than a hundred years now. The first vacuum cleaner was not electrical and did not have a fan system; instead, it relied on the pushrod system. To use the vacuum cleaner, the user had to push the rod in and out like a bicycle pump.
What is a Healthy Vacuum Cleaner
The accurate measure of the quality of a vacuum cleaner is made with the amount of dirt that exactly goes into it. A good vacuum cleaner will release a purified version of air from the dirt and dust accumulated into it. The release of this pure air is a measure of the kind of healthy atmosphere a vacuum can give you.
Knowing the filtration statistics of a vacuum will tell you how efficient the unit is. The tiny particles get put back into the air when running your vacuum cleaner. Only a secure unit can eliminate as many airborne particles as possible.
A healthy vacuum cleaner is equipped with HEPA filters that can reduce the emitting particles by 99.7%. The reduction in allergens due to the filters will significantly improve the air around you, helping the family members suffering from allergies.
What’s New in Vacuum Cleaners
In comparison to the vintage vacuum cleaners mentioned above, units of today have come a long way. While most of them still keep the essence of vacuuming intact, the newer versions rely on making the technology more convenient.
The suctions got stronger, and the cleaning paths have widened in the recent models of the vacuum cleaners. The most significant change, however, lies in the health aspect of the newer vacuums. When looking for a vacuum for your house, look for one that has activated HEPA filters.
Another exciting update in the world of vacuum cleaners is that robot vacuums that are becoming the talk of the town. Although certain aspects need improvement, robot vacuums are on the brink of revolutionizing the way we clean our homes.