The first electric vacuum cleaner was simply a pillowcase attached to an electric blower. It wasn’t developed to simplify the life of the housewife, but to ease the dust allergy of a hotel janitor.
I can’t even begin to imagine how badly beating dusty carpets over the back fence would’ve aggravated asthma and allergies. With all our family’s allergies, I feel lucky to live now during the days of efficient vacuums and air filters.
I remember helping Grandma beat the throw rugs outside on sunny days, but my main carpet cleaning memories involved the monstrous vacuum my grandmother had hiding in her hall closet. It was so noisy, it scared me. It was almost as scary as the haunted freezer in the basement. On a side note, if you’re getting the idea I was an anxious child, you’re probably not far off the mark. While I don’t think appliances caused my childhood anxieties about monsters, they certainly didn’t help ease those concerns with all their loud noises.
I’ve gotten over my fears of appliances, but even as an adult, I tend to have a love/hate relationship with my vacuum. It seems like the vacuum cleaners in my life have had a tendency to pick up what they shouldn’t. Pennies, buttons, needles, long strings. Inevitably the motor burns out (with a horrible smell) due to something solid being sucked into the housing that shouldn’t, or the roller stops spinning due to hair and yarn coiled endlessly around it. There’s nothing quite so lovely as the fresh smell of friction-burnt human hair mixed with the scent of burning rubber as the belt once again wears out.
Somewhere along the line, I guess someone forgot tell me that the roller needs to be cleared of long hair and strings regularly. Or I forgot to read the instructions. Either way, I’ve burned out more than my share of vacuum cleaners over the years.
Recently, I was given a brand new vacuum without bags, a stronger dust filter, and an easier turning capacity (which is nice but not something that ever really bothered me about the older models). Its best feature is that it has non-stop suction that doesn’t quit even when the dustbin is full.
So far, so good. It’s been six months. And I haven’t killed it yet.