Carpet Cleaning Tools of Yester-year
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Carpet Cleaning Tools of Yester-year

This Post is about the strange tools that used to be used back in the day..., and the "Facts" behind them, literally, as you'll soon read. 
 The "Carpet Beater" or "Rug Beater", also known by  a few other names, is a housecleaning tool that was in common use until the vacuum cleaner became affordable during the early 20th century
Carpet dusterCarpets, rugs, clothes, cushions, and bedding were hung over a clothesline or railing and the dust and dirt was beaten out of them. Typically made of wood, rattan, cane, wicker, spring steel or coiled wire, antique rug beaters have become very collectible. Its use in cleaning has been largely replaced since the 1950's by the carpet sweeper and then the vacuum cleaner.
 Other uses; In other parts of the world this tool also became quite handy for some parents who not only used it to beat the rugs, but to also discipline their children! Yes, it became "The  Spanker"which always left the tools distinctive pattern on the child's, well uh, behind! Some say this old fashion form of punishment has been extinct since the 1970's. 

The first Vacuum, Daniel Hess; invented a vacuum cleaner in 1860, calling it a carpet sweeper instead of a vacuum cleaner. It had a rotating brush like a traditional carpet sweeper, and also possessed an elaborate bellows mechanism on top of the body to generate suction of dust and dirt. Although he received a patent for his idea in 1860, it is not known if his invention went beyond paper. 

Ives W. Mc'Gaffey,  invention in 1868 was the first manually powered cleaner using vacuum principles, known as the Whirlwind. This piece of equipment was very similar to the appearance of modern vacuum cleaners today, but operated very differently. It consisted of a fan like propeller, driven by an actual crank, attached to the handle, that had to be turned at the same time you're pushing the vacuum across the floor!

FLOOR CLEANINGBack then the Whirlwind sold for $25, which would have been a true luxury product for that time period. It's not certain how successful the vacuum cleaner was since almost all of the Whirlwinds were lost in the Chicago fire of 1871. Today there are merely two of them left, one is in the Hoover Historical Center. The other is owned by a private collector.



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Shelia on Monday, June 03, 2013 10:24 PM
Hello! No, thank you for reading our Blog! I'm glad you've come across our page on this subject! You can be sure the sources used to bring you this information are accurate. As a matter of fact, tools our fore fathers used to use, happens to be a favorite subject of mine since I was a small child, but before there were things such as the internet, the only way I could satisfy my own curiosity, was the old fashioned way, libraries and museums! Thank you again for stopping here, we hope you'll visit again and feel free to ask any question you have! Happy Reading!


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Thats a fair point. Despite having a decent vacuum cleaner hanging our thicker rugs on the washing line and using a rug beater still does a great job. In fact its better than our vacuum could ever clean!


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