Hoover’s 100th birthday celebrations

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Last night Hoover celebrated its 100th anniversary of manufacturing vacuum cleaners with retailers, including Big W, Harvey Norman and Retravision joining celebrities and the media to mark the occasion with a show of retro Hoovers and a peek at the new range.

Hoover Floorcare Asia Pacific flew in US vacuum cleaner historian, Charles Richard Lester to speak at the Hoover Centenary exhibition last night at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), at The Rocks, Sydney.

“Wealthy women threw vacuum cleaning parties where the guests would sip tea and lift their feet for a Hoover cleaning demonstration,” said Lester, who currently owns more than 75 vintage vacuum cleaners, and is the co-founding member of the 300 strong Vacuum Cleaner Collectors Club.

Twelve celebrity decorated Hoover vacuum cleaners were also a focus of attention at the event — they are being auctioned to raise money for Clean-up Australia. A silent auction started at the event and bidding will continue online from Monday 3 November at www.hooverfloorcare.com.au/bidding/index.html.

The MCA is hosting a two-day Hoover exhibition featuring over 10 Hoover vacuum cleaners decorated by celebrity designers, artists, personalities and television stars such as Charlie Brown, Carla Zampatti, Ian Kiernan, Bianca Dye, Kirk Pengilly (INXS) and Layne Beechley, Big Brother’s Mike Goldman, Sky’s Natalie Murray, Totally Wild’s Pip Russell, Bondi Rescue, and the Vega breakfast – Mikey Robbins, Tony Squires and Bec Wilson.

The oldest Hoovers found in Australia as part of a recent competition, were displayed. Also on show were classic retro Hoover advertisements.

“Hoover’s extensive collection of retro adverts is a true reflection of society through the ages,” said Hoover Floorcare Asia Pacific director, Damian Court.

“The Hoover vacuum cleaner is well represented in art circles too, with famed Australian photographer, Max Dupain, photographing a Hoover in 1937 for an exhibition.”

In a case of necessity inspiring invention, Hoover was invented by asthma sufferer James Murray Spangler. He was a janitor by trade and reportedly concluded that the carpet sweeper he was using to clean was the source of his cough. In 1908, the first Hoover vacuum cleaner, called Model O, sold for US $60 and was viewed as a status symbol, owned by the wealthy and was reportedly proudly displayed in hallways and lobby areas.

Hoover’s new range for Australia were also on show at the event. Although price and details are not finalised, the range will be available some time in 2009.

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