The Arcade Historical Society’s new exhibit, “Spring Cleaning,” displays housekeeping tools used in the early to mid-1900s – early vacuum cleaners, washboards, rug beaters, irons (made of iron), to name a few. These made housework a never ending, back breaking chore repeated on a daily basis.
One of the vacuum cleaners in the exhibit seems more like a piece of exercise equipment - a plunger vacuum manually operated by pumping the wooden handles, sort of like a bellows. It was only usable on smooth floors and given the poor results for the effort exerted, we are fortunate that inventors kept at it to give us a better vacuum cleaner.
Other interesting facts were found to display with the objects. Did you know that the first portable vacuum cleaner (1905) weighed in at 100 pounds? That doesn’t sound very portable to me. And the inventor of what ended up being Hoover vacuums never reaped those benefits. James Murray Spangler sold the patent for his vacuum cleaner to his wife’s cousin, William Henry Hoover. And, as we like to say, the rest is history.
Come to the AHS and see what you missed if you were born after 1950. Those that remember these tools of torture, come by and share your stories with us at 331 West Main Street or enter your comments here on the blog. Hours at the Gibby House are Thursdays and Fridays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment.
- Sue Andrews,
AHS Operations Manager