The camera & the vacuum cleaner
We are surrounded by inventions that make our lives easier It is hard to imagine life without a vacuum cleaner, and we would all miss the ability to...
We are surrounded by inventions that make our lives easier. It is hard to imagine life without a vacuum cleaner, and we would all miss the ability to record our lives in photographs. These inventions and others are the results of many creative people, sometimes devoting their lives to a single project. Inventors require a lot of perseverance – Thomas Edison, for example, tried thousands of experiments before he perfected his light bulb design.
Camera: In these days of disposable cameras, digital cameras, and camera phones, it is hard to imagine a time when people couldn’t record their memories in color with the push of a button. Before 1888, photography was expensive and the necessary equipment cumbersome. But then George Eastman developed roll film and patented the first portable, hand-held Kodak camera. The camera came pre-loaded with film, and after taking 100 exposures the owner sent the entire camera to the Eastman Kodak Company, where the film was removed and developed. Kodak loaded new film into the camera and sent the pictures and camera back to the owner.
In other words, Eastman’s slogan ‘You Press the Button and We Do the Rest’ was very accurate! A camera can be a very complex machine with focusing mechanisms, flashes, and other features, but at its most basic it needs just three main elements:
Vacuum Cleaner: Imagine wanting to vacuum your carpets in the early years of the 20th century. You would have to call a door-to-door vacuuming service, which would send a huge horse-drawn machine to your house. Hoses would be fed through your windows, attached to the gasoline-powered vacuum outside in the street. Not very convenient, right? And when the first portable electric vacuum was invented in 1905, it weighed 92 pounds…also not very convenient!
Vacuums have undergone many modifications over the years, going from simple carpet sweepers to high-powered electric suction machines. The vacuum cleaner as we know it was invented by James Murray Spangler in 1907. He used an old fan motor to create suction and a pillowcase on a broom handle for the filter. He patented his ‘suction sweeper,’ but soon after that, William H. Hoover bought his patent and started the Hoover Company to manufacture the vacuum cleaners. Hoover’s ten-day free trial and door-to-door sales soon placed vacuum cleaners in homes all over the country. Over the years Hoover added components (such as the ‘beater bar’) to dislodge dirt in the carpet so the vacuum could suck it up.