As the old saying goes, “necessity is the mother of all invention”. This couldn’t be more true then with the invention of the vacuum cleaner. Most middle class Americans couldn’t afford rugs or carpet during the 1700’s so naturally the hardwood floors they had were able to be quickly and easily cleaned with a broom and dustpan.
1791- First carpet mill in America
William Sprague started the first woven carpet mill in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, essentially starting the carpet industry in America. During this time woven carpets were still expensive and considered a luxury.
1839- Erastus Bigelow invents the power loom
With Bigelow’s invention of the power loom carpet production doubled in the first year and tripled by the year 1850. Carpet was suddenly within the budgets of middle class Americans.
1860- Daniel Hess invents the “Carpet Sweeper”
Hess’s invention was the first mechanical device designed for cleaning carpets and the first iteration of the vacuum cleaner. It was equipped with a rotating brush and large bellows used to create suction. It was never mass produced.