Wikijunior:How Things Work/Vacuum Cleaner

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A vacuum cleaner is an apparatus designed to suck up small bits of dust, lint, crumbs and other small bits of dirt off the floor or carpet into a sealed bag that can then be disposed of. Vacuum cleaners come in many styles and shapes, but the basic principle is the same.

Who invented it?[edit | edit source]

Hubert Cecil Booth, a British engineer, received a British patent for a vacuum cleaner on August 30th 1901.

How does it get power?[edit | edit source]

Most Vacuums get their power from a cord connected to a plug, which is plugged into the electric grid. However, some hand held vacuums use batteries that have to be recharged occasionally.

How does it work?[edit | edit source]

The heart of a vacuum cleaner is the internal fan. It is usually covered with a grile or hidden deep within the vacuum to keep people from hurting themselves by poking fingers or toes inside. This fan pulls air from outside the vacuum into a bag.

The bag allows air to pass through it but traps the dust and lint and such that is sucked in with the air current. It was once made of cloth, but is now usually made of paper that can be disposed of, debris and all. Some more recent vacuums use a plastic tray or cup that can be removed, emptied and placed back inside for indefinite re-use.

How dangerous is it?[edit | edit source]

Vacuums are not normally dangerous. However, if they are used outside, where it is wet, the electricity inside can escape and electrocute people. If you put the vacuum hose against someone's eyes then they might have their eyesight damaged.

What does it do?[edit | edit source]

The vacuum cleaner cleans carpets and floors by sucking up dirt, crumbs, dust, and many other bits and bobs.

How does it vary?[edit | edit source]

The air enters the vacuum cleaner in different methods, depending on the configuration. On an "upright" vacuum, the air is pulled in through the head of the vacuum, which sits on the floor. Other models use a flexible hose or (in hand-held configurations) have the intake built into the "nose."

How has it changed the world?[edit | edit source]

It has moved dirt from one part of the world, to another. It is another example of a machine that does the job better and quicker and with less effort than a broom or mop

What idea(s) and/or inventions had to be developed before it could be created?[edit | edit source]

Electricity, the force that powers the vacuum cleaner, had to be developed to power the fan. The fan is powered by a motor, which also had to be invented.

References[edit | edit source]