I had no clue what this was, do you?

I had no idea what this device was until I saw a picture of it online!

I scratched my head in an attempt to identify it, but I was unable to do so.

Are you able to identify what it is?

You would be right if you guessed an antique vacuum cleaner! Advances in science and technology may have led to a slight change in the appearance of vacuum cleaners nowadays.

Yet, the 1800s saw a significant change in vacuum cleaner technology as a result of rising hygienic consciousness and technological breakthroughs that increased domestic cleanliness.

Even though the modern vacuum cleaner had not yet been created, some really incredible advancements in cleaning equipment had occurred during this time. Even though they are quite simple by today’s standards, metal vacuum cleaners helped pave the way for more effective and efficient household cleaning.

In the 19th century, people started to respect cleanliness more and more, therefore they were always searching for new and simple ways to keep their homes clean. The Industrial Revolution, which was a time of significant technological advancement, had a notable influence on many facets of daily living, including housework. According to London’s Science Museum, early vacuum-like devices were generally large, ineffective, and lacked the ease we now associate with contemporary vacuum cleaners.


Several of the earliest cleaning devices were designed and built using metal. These massive, cumbersome metal canister vacuum cleaners, similar to the one in the above photo, were manually powered and required labor to produce suction. In order to create suction, a handle connected to a pump mechanism would be continuously pumped, enabling users to remove dirt and debris from floors and carpets. However, it took a lot of labor.

According to Popular Mechanics, one noteworthy example from this era is the “Whirlwind,” a metal vacuum cleaner that was patented by Ives W. McGaffey in 1869. The Whirlwind was a hand-cranked apparatus that produced suction through bellows. Although it was a significant advancement in the history of cleaning instruments, its usefulness was restricted, and it was not at all like the automated, electrically powered vacuum cleaners that would subsequently be created.

The inventive energy of the 1800s is reflected in metal vacuum cleaners, which are emblematic of the home equipment that would become indispensable in subsequent decades. These early attempts at automated cleaning set the path for later advancements and served as motivation for creative engineers and inventors to hone and enhance the idea.

The beginning of the electric age was ushered in by the late 1800s, and the vacuum cleaner industry saw major advancements in technology in the early 1900s. Hubert Cecil Booth eventually invented the first commercially effective electric vacuum cleaner in 1901 thanks to the development of electric motors and more useful designs.

Who knew vacuum cleaner history could be so damn interesting?

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