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109 Electric Suction Cleaner
 

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Home Ragtime Articles of Interest 109 Electric Suction Cleaner

109 Electric Suction Cleaner

“He thought he heard an Arctic wind but it was the housemaid Brigit pushing an electric suction cleaner across the rug in the parlor.”

The first electric vacuum cleaner was in the 1860’s and as helpful as a broom.  A man names David Hess invented this vacuum cleaner and it has many of the same qualities of today's modernized vacuums.  They both have a rotating brush as well as the same basic suction idea (if you factor out technology) the inner workings are virtually the same.  During the time period the vacuum was invented it was called a “carpet sweeper”.  It later became known as an “electric carpet cleaner” then “electric suction cleaner” as it is called here in Ragtime.

The background of this "electric suction cleaner" in Ragtime starts when "father" returns from the arctic, he comes home to all these new things and people in his home.  His wife is fostering a black child and the mother of that child is living in their house as well.  His son is growing up and has a desk and school work to do and he seems to feel that all of their lives should have paused while he was gone and then picked up where they left off.  This new "electric suction cleaner" is also a new concept to him because in the book Doctorow lists all of the new things and people in "father's" home, he says that father thought he heard an "arctic wind" but it was just the "electric suction cleaner" being pushed by the maid.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 September 2011 14:21  

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