Back in 2012 a discovery was made – the oldest working vacuum cleaner known in existence in the world. The device was the American Sturtevant vacuum cleaner No. 4, found by one Harry Cox from Greater Manchester. And found is the key word; he found it in the scrap yard belonging to the family paper mill.
The Sturtevant was designed for larger rooms, such as those found in hotels or clubs and weighs in at a rather plump 30kg – a far cry from the lightweight vacuum cleaners of today. Luckily they come with a set of wheels for moving them around, making this one capable of cleaning the corridors at the paper mill for decades. Be warned though, after hearing this thing in action you will be left with a ringing in your ears!
Sturtevant were founded in the early 1860s by Benjamin Franklin Sturtevant, a shoemaker by trade. But it was a problem concerning the excess dust created by their peg cutting machine that would eventually lead him into his greatest invention – a fan blower designed to remove dust particles from the air. The Sturtevant company continued to refine their fan and air conditioning technologies until the early 1900s when they also started working on vacuum cleaners, of which there were a total of eight models including the now famous No. 4.
2 years prior to Harry’s discovery, the oldest working known vacuum cleaner was an 81 year old Hoover Senior, belonging to Bill Whitwam from Leicestershire. However this has now been made to look rather modern in comparison, even boasting the upright shape that many of our vacuum cleaners still use to this day.