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House cleaning has been an innate human activity for centuries, but only since the early 19th century have mechanical devices replaced the physical hard labor (performed mostly by women). Mechanical carpet sweepers were replaced by manual suction cleaners, which in turn were replaced by electric vacuum cleaners in the early 20th century. Innovative inventors, who sequentially improved vacuum cleaners as electricity became commonly available, made these advances possible. Many early manufacturers failed, but some, such as Bissell, Hoover, Eureka, and others, became household words, as they competed for global dominance with improved features, performance, and appearance. This book describes the fascinating people who made this possible, as well as the economic, cultural, and technological contexts of their times. From obscure beginnings 200 years ago, vacuum cleaners have become an integral part of modern household culture.
From the author of the acclaimed novel A Pigeon and a Boy comes a charming tale of family ties, over-the-top housekeeping, and the sport of storytelling in Nahalal, the village of Meir Shalev’s birth. Here we meet Shalev’s amazing Grandma Tonia, who arrived in Palestine by boat from Russia in 1923 and lived in a constant state of battle with what she viewed as the family’s biggest enemy in their new land: dirt. Grandma Tonia was never seen without a cleaning rag over her shoulder. She received visitors outdoors. She allowed only the most privileged guests to enter her spotless house. Hilarious and touching, Grandma Tonia and her regulations come richly to life in a narrative that circles around the arrival into the family’s dusty agricultural midst of the big, shiny American sweeper sent as a gift by Great-uncle Yeshayahu (he who had shockingly emigrated to the sinful capitalist heaven of Los Angeles!). America, to little Meir and to his forebears, was a land of hedonism and enchanting progress; of tempting luxuries, dangerous music, and degenerate gum-chewing; and of women with painted fingernails. The sweeper, a stealth weapon from Grandpa Aharon’s American brother meant to beguile the hardworking socialist household with a bit of American ease, was symbolic of the conflicts and visions of the family in every respect. The fate of Tonia’s “svieeperrr”—hidden away for decades in a spotless closed-off bathroom after its initial use—is a family mystery that Shalev determines to solve. The result, in this cheerful translation by Evan Fallenberg, is pure delight, as Shalev brings to life the obsessive but loving Tonia, the pioneers who gave his childhood its spirit of wonder, and the grit and humor of people building ever-new lives. From the Hardcover edition.
The world would be a poorer place without great British inventions—from cat’s eyes to crossword puzzles, tarmacadam to telephones, steam engines to shorthand, pneumatic tires to penicillin. The Bank of France was the brainchild of Scotsman John Law, while Hubert Cecil Booth invented the "Puffing Billy," the first powered vacuum cleaner. John Walker discovered matches (he called them "congreves") after coating the end of a stick with chemicals, then striking it. And where would we be without flush toilets? Invented by Sir John Harrington, not Thomas Crapper, as many believe. The Brits are an inventive lot, also responsible for lawnmowers, radar, fire extinguishers, tin cans, chocolate bars, hypnotism, DNA fingerprinting, the sandwich, and the World Wide Web, developed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. Whatever next?
In this updated autobiography, the British inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner tells the story of his incredible struggle to design and launch a machine that worked better than all others.
Describes the development of one hundred world-changing inventions, including rockets, the internet, refrigerators, blue jeans, light bulbs, and antibiotics.
Hoover's house is overrun with dust until he marries a vacuum cleaner, but he soon discovers that humans and appliances are not meant to wed.
A comprehensive history: from rough and tough handlogging to modern day helicopter and skyline logging. With generous oral histories and photographs old and new.

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