Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘James Spangler’

Hoover Historical Center Displays Sweeping Changes

Hoover Herb Garden

The Tannery and family home showcase an award-winning herb garden.

Spring usually brings thoughts of ‘Spring Cleaning’ to many, especially those of the older generation. It seemed like a great time to explore methods of cleaning through the years at the Hoover Historical Center in North Canton, home of the Hoover Company. Here you’ll find the most extensive antique vacuum cleaner collection in the world.

Hoover 2300 BC early broom

We’ve come a long way from this 2300 BC twig broom on display.

   Although the museum is located inside Walsh University’s Hoover Park, the building where it is located is actually the Victorian childhood home of William H. Hoover, founder of the Hoover Company. Tours begin in a modest building behind the house on their original family farm.

Hoover Tanning Tools

Tools used in the Tannery by the Hoovers are on display.

   Located here was a tannery, a business the Hoovers engaged in before the vacuum cleaner idea caught his attention. This building served as the first home of the Hoover family with much of the inside being original.

Hoover 1910 Kotten Suction Cleaner

Ann Haines, our guide, showed how moving her feet side-to-side on the platform created suction for the 1910 Kotten Vacuum Cleaner.

   In the tannery, there is an exhibit of their tanning equipment and the leather goods they produced. You’ll also see an exhibit of all early manually operated cleaning devices.

Hoover cartoon Husband rocks to run sweeper

In this early method, the husband rocked to provide energy to run the wife’s vacuum cleaner.

   The first upright vacuum cleaner was invented by a friend of the family, James Spangler, in 1908. James, a department store janitor and part-time inventor, had a problem with asthma and thought the carpet cleaner he was using at work was the cause of it. He created the Electric Suction Sweeper and produced it himself for a while with the help of his family. But they only completed two or three machines a week.

Hoover Gates

Gates leading to the Hoover Museum are made of original bricks from the Hoover Co. smokestack.

   Spangler sold one of these vacuums to a friend, Susan Hoover, who was so impressed with it that she told her husband ‘Boss’ and son Herbert about it. Quickly, Hoovers bought the patent and opened the Electric Suction Sweeper Company in New Berlin, now North Canton.

   That first vacuum weight 40 pounds so not the easiest thing to push around the house. The cost was $60 for the vacuum and an additional $15 for attachments. Only the rich had electricity at this time so they were proud to purchase a new idea such as the vacuum.

   Spangler became production supervisor receiving royalties in addition to his salary. The company name was changed in 1910 to Hoover Suction Sweeper Company with Spangler’s family still receiving royalties until 1925.

Hoover early ad 2

This ad was placed in the Saturday Evening Post for a ten-day free trial of the Hoover.

   In order to gain public interest, Hoover placed an ad in The Saturday Evening Post offering customers ten days free use of his vacuum cleaner to anyone who requested it. He thus developed a national network of retailers for his vacuums. Before long, Hoover had companies in Canada and England.

   The “Sweeping Changes” chronological display shows the evolution of Hoover appliances throughout their history. In 1932, the Hoover Company was the largest maker of vacuum cleaners in the world. By 1999, Hoover employed 2,800 workers in Stark County.

2000 Hoover Headquarters

A rebuilt smokestack still stands where the Hoover headquarters was in 2000.

   Sales conventions were a special summer event in North Canton. Salesmen from all over the United States and foreign countries met in Hoover Park. A circle of large tents was set up for their housing with a large tent for meals. Salesmen were taught how to sell and how not to sell through lively skits.

   Here they learned about the three kinds of dirt: litter, dust and grit. All three were spread on people’s floors when salesmen went to demonstrate their vacuum, which would pick up all three.

 

Hoover Ann with later models

Ann explains some of the later Hoover models.

  While touring the house, listen to an old recording of Hoover salesmen singing, “All the Dirt, All the Grit,” the Hoover theme song in the 1920s and ’30s. They’ll give you the words so you can sing along if you like.

Hoover WWII children

This picture shows the Hoover employees’ children brought from London during WWII. The bottom one shows them at Thanksgiving dinner.

   During WWII, 1500 children were moved out of England and shipped to Canada for safety purposes. Hoover families in London sent 83 of their children to stay with Hoover employees in Canton in 1940.

   Boss Hoover took great care of them and paid all their medical expenses as well as treated them like family. These children were delighted to taste watermelon, hot dogs and hamburgers for the first time. All 83 returned to London after the war.

Hoover war time products

Hoover switched to making products for military use during WWII.

   A special display shows items that were made during WWII. Since the men were all at war, 240 women worked in the factories in 1940 and no longer made vacuum cleaners. Instead, they made liners for helmets, parachutes, and fuses, which were said to be second in importance to the atomic bomb. By 1945, the number of women employed had risen to 3900. Hoover Company received many awards for their WII efforts.

Hoover products

Hoover branched out to making more than just vacuums.

   After the war, the Hoover Company expanded into household items making a stand-up iron, apartment size washers and driers, and refrigerators. Back in 1988, they explored using robots to make their vacuums. This was a very forward-thinking company.

Hoover William Boxx

The well-loved William H. “Boss” Hoover founded the Hoover Company.

   As you can tell, this small historic center is packed with interesting information about the history, not only of the vacuum but of our country and its people. Everyone loved ‘Boss’ Hoover, a name given him affectionately as he cared for his employees and their families. Perhaps that is how he became the first mayor of North Canton.

   Hoover Historical Center is open to the public on Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoons with tours beginning hourly 1-4 pm, March through October. No admission is charged for the tour, although donations are appreciated. There’s something here for almost any interest.

   Every day is better with a Hoover. It Beats….as it Sweeps…as it Cleans!

Hoover Historical Center is located on the campus of Walsh University in North Canton. From I-77 take exit 109A  to Whipple Avenue and Maple Street. The center is located at 1875 E. Maple Street. 

McKinley Museum Spotlights Stark County

Near the foot of the McKinley Monument, Stark County Historical Society has gathered interesting information and memorabilia regarding the surrounding area. as well as the life of William McKinley.  The bust of McKinley greets visitors outside the building.

As you enter the lobby of the McKinley Museum in Canton, Ohio, a sign with a quote caught my eye. It was a word of advice to young people from President William McKinley:

“Young men and women, what your education will be and do for you depends upon yourselves.”                                                            

Within these walls is quite an extensive history of the Stark County area including leading enterprises, such as Belden Brick, Dueber-Hampden Watch Company, Erie Canal, Hoover Vacuum, Pennsylvania Railroad,  and Timken Company just to name a few. Henry Timken founded Timken Roller Bearing Company in 1902 and his entrepeneur vision was grounded in this type of thinking:

“If you have an idea which you think is right, push it to a finish. But above all, don’t set your name to anything you will ever have cause to be ashamed of.”

McKinley Museum had many interesting exhibits throughout, too numerable to mention. Here are a few things that caught my eye on a recent visit.

One fascinating display showed a clock tower made by Dueber-Hampden Watch Co with a sign “Accurate to the Second.”  That was way back in 1889! By 1890 the company was producing 600 watches a day in Canton, Ohio and had over a thousand employees. They used 14 karat gold  in their watch cases and had 17 jewel movement, quite advanced for their time. This company was sold to a Russian company in 1927 and twenty-one former employees went to Russia to teach them their craft.  One report is that their machinery is still being used in China today.

The Hoover Vacuum provided a display that attracted lines of children. While seated in a chair, they pressed a button which created enough suction to lift them well off the floor. The Power of the Hoover! It is very fitting to be highlighted here as the first upright vacuum was invented by a department store janitor, James Spangler, in Canton back in 1906. He just happened to show it to his cousin, Susan Hoover, who in turn shared it with her husband.  “Boss” Hoover bought the patent from Spangler, hired him as Superintendent, and slowly began the switch from maker of leather-goods to vacuum manufacturer.  The slogan: “It beats..as it Sweeps…as it Cleans” brought the Hoover Vacuum to the forefront.

This was the original hand-sewn 45 star American flag that hung on the front porch of McKinley’s home during the 1896 presidential campaign.  During his famous “Front Porch Campaign”, McKinley made himself available to the public every Sunday afternoon on the front porch of his home. Usually he was seated in his rocking chair from which he talked to 750,000 people who stopped by. Some say he shook hands with up to a million men from that front porch scene. This campaign appealed to the average voter, who found themselves drawn to a candidate that stayed true to his roots.

Rooms were redesigned to look very much like the ones of long ago with their Victorian furnishings. A touch of some form of music was often in evidence as that would have been one of their main means of entertainment. In the parlor, you had an opportunity to listen to talking figures of William and Ida McKinley. Notice that he does have on his symbol, the red carnation.These plastic figures are activated by sensors when you enter the room.

The Hazlett Theater is a fine spot to give your feet a rest and watch some old films from days gone by. Here you hear about the campaigns of William McKinley and get to have an inside video tour of the Memorial.

There weren’t enough hours in the day, so sadly missed the show at the Hoover Price Planetarium where visitors view the solar system and beyond. They say it is like traveling to space without leaving the ground.  Unfortunately, didn’t make it to Discover World either where dinosaurs and early American Indians welcome visitors to Natural History Island, Ecology Island and the new spot, Fascination Station.  Looks like a return visit is in order.

The McKinley Museum  is located in downtown Canton, Ohio just off I-77. Take Exit 105 for OH 172, then turn right on 7th Street NW. Take the first left onto McKinley Monument Drive where the Museum is located to the left when facing the memorial. Enjoy a little piece of Ohio history.

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