Imagine life without the vacuum cleaner

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When you ladies and sometimes you men start to clean the house, do you grab the vacuum cleaner, plug it in and away you go? Well, did you ever stop to think about how the vacuum cleaner got started? Or who invented it?

The year was 1699, and a British patent was issued to Edmund Heming for a machine he invented for sweeping the streets of London. It wasn’t until 1876, 177 years later, that a smaller version was invented by Anna and Melville Bissell. They called it the carpet sweeper.

In 1901, Cecil Booth invented the first vacuum cleaner, and it was the size of a small refrigerator. It would take two people to operate this vacuum because of the size. As the years went on, the vacuum was steadily improved and was made smaller and smaller.

So, the next time you take out your small, lightweight or even self-propelled vacuum cleaner to clean your home or office, stop for just a moment and realize just how lucky you are and how easy the task has become through the years.

The Louisiana Treasures Museum has one of the first carpet sweepers on display. Come by for a visit and see for yourself how everyday items have improved over time. For additional information or to schedule tours or hours of operation call me at 225-294-8352.

Wayne Norwood is a lieutenant with the St. John the Baptist Sheriff’s Department and owner and operator of the Louisiana Treasures Museum.