Who Invented the Vacuum Cleaner in 1868? (Invention of Vacuum Cleaner)

The beauty of science is that it can utilize the power of multiple minds for a single project. The vacuum cleaner as we know it today has been invented and reinvented multiple times for many years. Each new design fixed the previous problems and created a way for new possibilities. This article will explain the different phases of the vacuum cleaner. Let’s get started with who invented the vacuum cleaner in 1868?

Who Invented the Vacuum Cleaner in 1868?

Who Invented the Vacuum Cleaner in 1868

Before 1868, cleaning meant sweeping with brooms and dustpans to remove dust from the room. This was inefficient and tiring, especially for guest houses and hotels. However, all this changed thanks to W. McGaffey, who invented vacuum cleaners in 1868. It was the first machine based on a simple mechanical turning shaft. The “Whirlwind” was widely adopted, and everyone liked the idea. The only drawback of this vacuum was that it required turning a hand crank to work rather than a motor. As a result, the device still required mechanical work and was rather exhausting for the sweepers.

The Advent of Powered Vacuum Cleaners

The Advent of Powered Vacuum Cleaners

People used the mechanical way for cleaning even after McGaffney’s invention. In 1901, Hubert Cecil Booth came up with the idea of a motorized vacuum cleaner or the “Puffing Billy.” It used the same principle as McGaffney’s design. However, instead of requiring to turn the crank mechanically, it used an engine to do the turning of shafts. Furthermore, the machine itself was so immense that it had to be pulled around the city using horses.

The Puffing Billy required engine oil to run, which created more mess in the city than it cleaned. Therefore, after a few years, the fuel-powered engine was replaced with an electrical motor. For many years, Booth’s machine was used by cleaning service companies. Still, it was too big for an average household, and people had to wait just to get their houses cleaned.

Handheld Vacuum cleaners

The person who made it possible for the vacuum cleaners to fit inside a household was Herbert Hoover. You must be thinking, Did Herbert Hoover invent the vacuum? No, he didn’t. in reality, Hoover bought the patent for his vacuum cleaner from his cousin-in-law James Spangler.

In 1907, James Spangler invented an electrically powered vacuum cleaner that was based on three simple parts: a fan, a box, and a pillow to collect the dust. At the mouth of his vacuum cleaner rested a suction device and a rotating brush. This rotating brush was used to loosen the dust, garbage, grease, and other materials from the carpet. His device was also known as ‘Model O,” and the patent was then bought by W.H Hoover.

Hoover continued using the pillowcase design for many years to come. Eventually, he took Spangler as a partner in his company to further develop the device. He was the mastermind behind many other models sold under Hoover’s name. The device was a success until the 1920s when suddenly carpets became out of fashion. People preferred wooden flooring over carpets because they were more economical and lasted for a very long time. However, Hubert’s cleaners were only effective on fabrics and thus became ineffective in the new homes.

Modern vacuum cleaners

By now the vacuum cleaners had become a necessity for every household rather than a luxury item. People had started to leave behind the old-fashioned booming. Moreover, many furnished homes came with a vacuum cleaner from the Hoover company. However, these vacuum cleaners need to be held by the sweeper, which was still tiresome. Therefore, in 1909, Fred Wardell solved this problem by introducing upright vacuum cleaners. These machines didn’t require carrying around, but you could place them on the floor when cleaning.

Moreover, Fred Wardell also acknowledged the changing mindset of the public and redesigned the rotating brush. This brush was suitable for both carpets and wooden floors. As a result, Wardell’s vacuum cleaners were highly popular during the 1920s and 1930s. So to answer, when was the vacuum invented? We need to know exactly which type of vacuum cleaners are you referring to.

If you only want to know about the father of vacuum cleaners. W. McGaffey has a strong chance of holding the title. On the contrary, if you want to know about the powered vacuum cleaners, Booth’s “Puffing Billy” was the first. Lastly, modern vacuum cleaners were produced by Hoover’s company in 1907.

Best Vacuum Cleaners

The best thing about original vacuum cleaners was that they used metal casing and parts. This build quality made them highly durable as well as reliable. However, all this metal made those vacuum cleaners very heavy and difficult to carry around. With the discovery of high-quality plastic, the vacuum cleaner’s material game changed. Heavy-duty plastic is a synthetic material that is very lightweight and has the sturdiness of metal.

Most modern vacuum cleaners use plastic as a building material. However, not every model is as durable and reliable as the best vacuum cleaners. Moreover, only a handful of manufacturers actually produce such vacuum cleaners that satisfy the users. Therefore, when looking for a vacuum cleaner, make sure that your device has a sturdy build, lightweight wheels for easy navigation, and comes at an affordable price. Here are a few suggestions:

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to buy a reliable and durable vacuum cleaner?

The best place to buy durable vacuum cleaners is Amazon and local stores. Other than that, you should not trust online purchases unless they are from a trusted manufacturer.

When was the first-ever vacuum cleaner invented?

Hubert Cecil Booth invented the first vacuum cleaner in 1901.

Are vacuum cleaners durable?

Modern vacuum cleaners are made from heavy-duty plastic and thus last for a very long time if used carefully.


Modern vacuum cleaners are the result of decades of evolution. The world’s first powered vacuum cleaner was pulled by horses, while the modern vacuums are handheld and cordless. I hope by now you know everything about who invented the vacuum cleaner in 1868?

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