A Brief Timeline of Vacuum Cleaners

  • Carpet Sweeper invented

    Daniel Hess of Union, Iowa invented the first machine to clean dirt off of carpet. It was called the Carpet Sweeper, and it had rotating brushes powered by mechanical gears from rolling on the floor that created suction. It was not mass-produced.
  • Grand Rapids Invented

    Melville R. Bissell invented and produced for public sale a vacuum called the "Grand Rapids". This vacuum cleaner was also a carpet sweeper that worked by brushes rotating when its wheels were rolled across the floor. Bissell is still a brand of vacuums in production today.
  • First Electric-powered Vacuum

    Corinne Dufour improved the carpet sweeper by powering it with an electric motor.
  • First Motorized Suction Vacuum Powered by Gasoline

    Hubert Cecil Booth created the first motorized vacuum cleaner powered by a gasoline engine. it was very large and heavy. I had to be placed in a wagon to be pulled by a team of horses.
  • Domestic Cyclone

    In 1906 a vacuum cleaner called the "Domestic Cyclone", which employed the use of water to help pick up dirt, was invented by James B. Kirby. The Kirby vacuum company still exists today.
  • Hoover Model O

    A janitor named James Murray Spangler from Canton, OH invented the first motorized portable vacuum cleaner by attaching a pillowcase to an electric fan with a box to collect the dirt. His patent was purchased by William Henry Hoover, who produced the Hoover Model O.
  • Eureka Vacuum Company

    Detroit businessman Fred Wardell established the Eureka Vacuum company, who were one of the top producers of vacuum cleaners for decades. They are still in business today.
  • First Consumer Vacuum Cleaner

    The Fisker and Nielsen company manufactured the first consumer vacuum cleaner, called the C1.
  • First Disposable Vacuum Cleaner Bags

    Air-Way Sanitizor company, based in Toledo, OH, created the first vacuum cleaners that used a disposable and replaceable bag to collect dirt.
  • First Canister Vacuum

    Electrolux Vacuum Company created the first canister vacuum called the Electrolux Model V. The canister form factor became a prevalent vacuum design for decades.
  • Positive Agitation

    Hoover patented the first beater bar, which is a metal bar attached to the rotating brushes that move across the floor. It creates vibrations on the carpet while working to more effectively and efficiently gather dirt.
  • Period: to

    Small Improvements and Design Changes

    The 1930s-1970s were a period of small, incremental improvements to vacuum technology. Upright vacuums were created, lighter materials introduced, and developments in power and efficiency.
  • First Self-propelled Vacuum

    Hoover created and marketed the first self-propelled vacuums, which lessened fatigue covering large areas.
  • First Handheld Vacuum

    Black and Decker introduced the first Handheld vacuum cleaner, called the DustBuster. It was powered by batteries and was a commerical success. New versions of the DustBuster are still being released today.
  • Dyson Dual Cyclone

    British inventor and engineer James Dyson worked on developing a powerful bagless vacuum. He created thousands of prototypes starting in 1978, and finally released the Dual Cyclone DC01 machine in 1993. The Dyson company grows and continues to innovate vacuum technology today.
  • First Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

    Electrolux released the world's first robotic vacuum cleaner, the Trilobyte.
  • Roomba

    A startup company called iRobot releases their first robot vacuum, called the Roomba. It is a small cylindrical disk vacuum that functions without human intervention. It utilizes sensors and an early form of Artifiical Intelligence to map a room, clean it, and remember it for future jobs. The Roomba continues to innovate with sophisticated technology, and many imitators have also started making their own versions of robot vacuums.
  • Laser Vacuums

    Dyson released the Dyson Detect Absolute V15 vacuum, a cordless vacuum that uses a laser sensor to detect particles of dirt, a variable strength motor that increases suction as more particles are detected, an LED display that counts particles collected, types of particles, and which manual or automatic mode is in use. A smaller model called the V12 Detect Slim is released soon thereafter.