Hoover vacuum cleaners date back to the early 1900’s when a man named Murray Spangler utilized little more than an old box fan, broom handle and pillowcase to come up with a device he called a “suction sweeper”. He was a man prone to allergies and felt that the device would cut down on the amount of dust generated by the carpet sweeper he regularly used in his custodial duties at a local store. He was encouraged to patent the contraption and in 1908 he formed the Electric Suction Sweeper Company. Although not the first true vacuum cleaner, it was considered the first electric upright vacuum cleaner and was revolutionary in that it included a beater bar that bounced the dirt out of carpeted rugs.
Spangler convinced the wife of a storekeeper in what is now Canton, Ohio to try out his new creation. The woman, Susan Hoover, who was also a cousin of his, loved the suction sweeper so much that she convinced her husband, William, to start producing and selling the new invention. Hoover and Spangler became partners, but it was Hoover’s selling technique that really launched the new machine. Although he didn’t create the actual machine, the profession of door-to-door Vacuum Cleaner Salesman originated with William Hoover. The manager of the stores that featured Hoover vacuum cleaners would actually go to a potential customer’s home and demonstrate the wonders of the invention to the homeowner within a comfortable, familiar setting. The vacuum cleaner was generously left at the home of the customer for a 10-day trial period, ensuring its endearment to the potential owner. Attachments that fit the cleaner further sweetened the deal.
For generations of not only Americans, but of consumers around the world, Hoover became a beloved brand name, associated with quality and durability. Brand imprinting has always played a crucial role in the future of a brand and the Hoover brand was no exception. Just as people tend to use the brand name “Kleenex” to replace the word “tissue”, consumers throughout the world for over a hundred years have referred to their vacuum cleaner as “the Hoover”. Even the act of vacuuming had been dubbed “Hoovering” by many people in countries all over the world, regardless of the brand of vacuum used.
My own Hoover brand imprinting happened before I was even four. My earliest memory of a Hoover vacuum cleaner was when I was a budding pop star, about 3 years old. A sturdy, upright vacuum cleaner, the Hoover’s handle was the perfect height for me to belt songs into all morning long on cleaning days. The Hoover name printed down the front of the bag was one of the first words I ever learned to read! Almost twenty years later, the old Hoover was the vacuum I was allowed to take for use in my first apartment, and to this day, yet another twenty years later, that Hoover is still going strong and while it’s not the prettiest machine, it is a testament to the quality of the Hoover brand. Today Hoover remains a quality brand backed by generous warranties with parts and attachments that are easy to find and readily available around the world. For over one hundred years the Hoover brand is the one that has set the industry standard and continues to be at the forefront of vacuum suction technology.