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The Vacuum Cleaner: A History by Carroll…

The Vacuum Cleaner: A History (2012)

by Carroll Gantz

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179587,099 (3.17)13



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a history museum curator, I found this fascinating and absolutely see it proving useful some day. Gantz opens another interesting window to peer into western domestic history and technology of the 20th century. If you have an interest in the cult of domesticity, material culture, or just love obscure info on obscure subjects, it's a useful book which can enrich understanding in many directions. ( )
  benjclark | Jan 2, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I requested this book on the basis of some other everyday-technology-specific histories I'd read that really managed to draw the reader in despite the apparent dullness of their topic. While it didn't meet all my expectations for an exciting read, it did manage to pull me along and teach me quite a bit about vacuum cleaners and the history of floor cleaning technology. I'm not going to recommend that everyone go out and buy this, but if you have a propensity for nerding out on a topic and a general interest in floor cleaning technology, this is probably the book for you. I can't tell you how much more attention I've been paying to those Dyson ads....

[full review here: http://spacebeer.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-vacuum-cleaner-history-by-carroll.html ] ( )
  kristykay22 | Nov 28, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If you happen to be interested in technical details about vacuum cleaners, this sweeping account may be the book for you. It exposes the dusty corners of 200 years of history, from mechanical carpet sweepers through manual suction cleaners, to electric vacuum cleaners to the modern compact models, cordless models, and designer vacs. Author Carroll Gantz is well qualified to write a book of this nature, as a professional industrial designer with Black & Decker and a faculty member at Carnegie Tech.

This book focuses primarily on technical details and design, and quite frankly, I found it very dull. I imagine someone, somewhere, cares about what year Electrolux came out with Model XYZ, which added this and that gadget to improve from Model ABC, but I am not one of those people. Technological developments do not occur in a vacuum, and a historical look at any topic needs to provide perspective by integrating some social or cultural history, features lacking in this text. I was unable to see any broad implications of all the style details in the grand scheme of things, and sorely missed aspects of human interest. However, I suppose a purist would find this book to provide a thorough history on the mechanical side of the topic. (Nature may abhor a vacuum, but imagine where we'd be without it.) ( )
2 vote rybie2 | Aug 8, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The title says it all--this is the most complete, comprehensive history of the vacuum cleaner you will find. It is full of fact after fact after fact, diagram after diagram after diagram, and pictures by the boatload of various vacuum cleaners. The "pre-history" of cleaning prior to the invention of the vacuum cleaner was the most fascinating to me (and will certainly put you off EVER picking anything up off a carpeted floor again). I found myself after that point scanning to find a model or brand I recognized (having used carpet sweepers and silent butlers as a child). It was great fun getting reacquainted with my grandmother's Electrolux and her swivel vacuum, as well as my own Hoover, which is now over 30 years old. And, frankly, I found the more modern vacuums boring reading. This is definitely the ultimate source for all things related to the vacuum cleaner, but it is just as clearly not for the casual reader. ( )
  Prop2gether | Apr 4, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I requested this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program because I found myself thinking, "OK, that has got to be more interesting than it looks!" And I was sort of right. It turns out there's some interesting historical trivia about vacuum cleaners, and the story of the vacuum as it's presented here does touch on all kinds of broader topics: the profound changes wrought on society by the industrial revolution, historical and modern attitudes towards housework, the evolution of industrial design, and so on. Except, well... this really isn't fundamentally a book about any of those thing It's a book about the history of vacuum cleaners. A very, very thorough book about the history of vacuum cleaners. Which, if you're passionate about the topic of vacuum cleaners -- and apparently some people are -- is no doubt a wonderful thing. But I'm afraid my own interest in the subject is rather more casual and limited, and I often found myself skimming quickly over long lists of vacuum cleaner designs or changes to the corporate structures of vacuum cleaner companies and wondering what on earth I was doing reading a book about vacuum cleaners in the first place. ( )
3 vote bragan | Mar 23, 2013 |
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To my many friends and former professional colleagues at the Hoover Company and Black & Decker, whose dedication, innovation and contributions to the vacuum cleaner industry are timeless
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After church, Johnny tells his parents he has to go and talk to the minister right away.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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