• Categories

  • Archives

  • Advertisements

Carpet Sweepers – a bit of History


Mechanical sweepers were the next improvement in floor cleaning after the broom and dust pan.  Sweeping your floor the old-fashioned way would move dirt around the floor to corral it so it could be swept into the pan, doing a lovely job of stirring up dust as you did it!  The carpet sweeper would capture and store the dust in a tray concealed inside its body, at least in theory.  The Union Sweeper, patented in 1858, used wheels on one side of its body to turn a brush roller that would, supposedly grap dirt off the floor and propel it into the bin.

The Hatlinger Another type of mechanical cleaner was called the sweeping box.  There were no wheels; the elongated sides of the dust collection box acted as sled runners so it could glide along the floor.  It had a hand crank (and belt) to turn a small pulley connected to the brush at the bottom of the machine.  There were several similar designs. The Hatlinger “Champion”  (see the picture left) is an early sweeping box from 1873.

The third design, also called a carpet sweeper, evolved and is
still around today! It had two sets of wheels under the sweeper; these came into contact with the brush roller and turned it by friction as the sweeper was pushed back and forth across the floor.  Sound familiar? It was light in weight and easy to use, but the sweeper worked best on hard surfaces; only surface litter could be collected from short pile carpeting; the set in dirt was not affected! The Bissell Co. (Now where have we heard that name before?) has promoted this type of sweeper since the late 1800’s and continues to sell it in today’s market. 


                                       Bissell Crystal Sweeper


The Bissell Crystal Sweeperwas used by salespeople to demonstrate the cleaning action of the brush. The glass top gives a clear view of the black and white bristles.  Their colors easily allow the viewer to see the dirt that is picked up.  You can see the Bissell logo is actually etched into the beveled glass cover.

 Mechanical carpet sweepers evolved further when the element of suction was introduced into their design.  The Combination Sweeper or Vacuum Sweeper had an extra set of wheels added to the rear of the body to power two (or three) bellows, which, in turn, pulled air in through a nozzle that was mounted in front.  The original wheels on either side of the unit still rotated the brush as the machine was propelled back and forth acoss the floor.  It apparently worked best when it was pushed quicky back and forth, but there was never sufficient suction or power to do a thorough cleaning job.  Another point against it was the increased weight and bulk introduced with the vacuum motor.

Duntley & Williams sweepers
The Duntley Vacuum Sweeper
Duntley Pneumatic Sweeper Co., ChicagoWilliams Combination Sweeper
Manufactured by Frank W. Williams Co., Chicago

Pictures and information are from http://www.vachunter.com/sweepers.htm.

Yours Truly,



Beating a Rug – the old fashioned way!

FingerBeaters   Beating a rugOrnate Steel Carpet Beater

Beating a rug with a beater – yes, that’s what it was actually called! They came in all kinds of shapes.  They came in steel, wood and even rattan!

Some Steel Beaters      Rattan Beaters 

If you are interested in more vacuum cleaner history, take a look at http://www.vachunter.com/history.htm.

Yours Truly,


Vacuum Cleaner: Blessing or Curse?

                     DuJour Sneeze

Given the fact that I had allergies, vacuuming any kind of surface with our old Hoover cannister vacuum  was a chore that sent me into sneezing fits.  The air that went IN the vacuum seemed just as dirty as the air that came OUT, if my teary eyes, runny nose and shortness of breath were any indication of the truth. I could clean everything in the apartment – the dishes, the bathrooms, the linoleum floor, the kitchen…I even dusted the furniture with nary an allergic symptom. 

Vacuuming was simply my nemesis; it defeated me in every way.  I thought that maybe using a dust mask would help me. I tried 3 different kinds of dust masks, two of which only fogged up my glasses so much, that I couldn’t see what I was doing! The third just didn’t filter much of the allergens and I wound up with asthma symtoms anyway.  Someone came up with the bright idea of staying out of a carpeted room for 10 minutes after it was vacuumed.  Great, as long as someone else can do your vacuuming for you!

Enter the HEPA air filter, which removes at least 99% of all particles (like dust, mold, mildew, pollen and pet dander) of the air run through it!  Personally, the only HEPA air cleaner I ever used was, I think, far too small for the area in which it was placed, so my opinion of them is flawed. Consumer Reports, as I’ve read, likes HEPA filtering and an air moving device with a properly employed certified HEPA air filter really does take most particles out of the air.

As far as brands of vacuums are concerned, I’ve had personal experience with a number of the home versions of them. Hoover (canister), Eureka (upright), Electrolux(cannister), Panasonic(cannister), Rainbow(cannister) and Kirby(upright).  There are many other reputable brands out there, all of which do a respectable job

Now we’re in the age of HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners. That, in itself is a great idea – combining the vacuum (a gadget pulling dust up into the air) with a HEPA air filter (a tool to remove the dust from the air).  Only recently, I’ve noticed a germ killing vacuum called the Halo that kills germs with ultraviolet light! 

Unfortunately, with more technology generally comes more $cost$ so the vacuum cleaner has become a major appliance, much like a washing machine or dishwasher nowadays. So it’s important to spend the smallest amount on the most worthwhile vacuum that does the job for you.

Halo Vacuum – A germicidal vacuum!

Here is the UV bulb chamber on the underside of the Halo UVX.Developed by Ken and Carrie Garcia, a set of parents blessed with triplets, the Halo vacuum line uses specialized ultra-violet light as an additional tool to kill living organisms as you vacuum!   UVC technology has been used for years in hospitals to disinfect and kill germs on surfaces, but never before has it been available to the consumer for the purpose of cleaning and disinfecting carpets & floors.
There are 2 models of this vacuum available.  They are both light weight – about 16 lbs – and easy to maneuver.
Halo UVX - base model
The Halo UVX is the base model, coming with a beltless brush bar,  a motorized height adjustment with 5 levels and a retractable handle for ease of storage and also to handle vacuuming mattresses.  There are no belts to change, which is certainly a convenience. It has a 31 ft. long retractable cord in addition to both HEPA and carbon filters to reduce the amount of debris put back into the air.  This model runs about $399 MSRP, but click here for a discount at Amazon.com.

The Halo UV-ST has the same features as the base model, but includes a number of attachments as well as more of a sleek space-age look.   (Check out the picture on the left.)  The attachments include a crevice tool, a hose and an upholstery brush. (see picture at right). This little gem retails for $499 MSRP but click here to get a good deal through Amazon.com.

...and heeeere's the Halo UV-ST

Halo UV-ST Attachments


There is reputed to be a new Halo vacuum model coming out sometime in 2008.