Although the vacuum cleaner had been invented in the early 20th century, the mass production and sales of vacuum cleaners did not take off until the economic boom that followed the decade after the First World War (1914-1918). This Hoover vacuum model 700 was produced between 1926 and 1929 and was the first of its kind to feature an aluminum body, an on/off switch, and the agitator brushroll—an innovation that used metal beater strips to vibrate pieces of dirt from carpets. The vacuum was one of the many supposedly labor saving devices marketed in the 1920s that promised to liberate middle-class women, now managing their houses without live-in maids, from the drudgery of housework. Accordingly advertisements for the Hoover 700 depicted a chic flapper of the late 1920s using the vacuum. Although the vacuum did clean more thoroughly than the broom and dustpan, the popularization of such appliances created more exacting standards of cleanliness thus making the hope of simplified housework largely illusory.

Date Made: 1927

Maker: Hoover Company

Place Made: United States: Ohio, North Canton

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Family & Social Life, Domestic Furnishings, Artifact Walls exhibit


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Betty B. Ross

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1990.3134.01Catalog Number: 1990.3134.01Nonaccession Number: 1990.3134Catalog Number: 1990.3134.1 A,B

Object Name: vacuum cleaner

Physical Description: metal (overall material)cloth (overall material)rubber (overall material)Measurements: overall: 104 cm x 31 cm; 40 15/16 in x 12 3/16 in


Record Id: nmah_1065670

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