Hoover constellation vacuum cleaner with attachments
- c. 1956 - 1959
- Hoover Limited
Hoover Constellation vacuum cleaner, about 1956. A particularly ’space age’ 1950s vacuum cleaner, noted for its use of exhaust air to make it hover. Coupled with a futuristic spherical shape and fashionable colouring, the Constellation is truly a design classic among vacuums. It is made from metal with plastic components. This example is mainly grey with blue details.
Although the first vacuum cleaner can be credited to the British engineer Hubert Cecil Booth with his horse-drawn, petrol-powered machine invented in 1901, the Hoover Company was the first to bring out an upright handheld vacuum cleaner.
James Spangler, from Ohio USA, had the idea for a broomstick-like cleaner — using suction from an electric fan, a cloth filter, and a dust-collection bag attached to a long handle. He sold the idea to William Hoover in 1908 and the Hoover Company was founded. Spangler’s invention proved to be arguably the first truly practicable domestic vacuum cleaner.
The Hoover Company built their first British vacuum cleaner producing factory, the Hoover Building, in Perivale in northwest London, in the early 1930s. The striking Art Deco building designed by Wallis, Gilbert, and Partners, produced vacuum cleaners until 1982. Now Grade II listed, it has been converted into flats.
High costs and lack of electrical provision meant that before the 1950s most households were cleaned with brushes and low-tech devices. With the continuing role out of the national electricity grid and strong marketing slogans, promising household appliances would bring cleaner and more convenient lives, aspirational electronic technology was taking off in the UK in the 1950s.
In 1954, Hoover unveiled the Constellation (US Patent D175210), designed by American industrial design pioneer Henry Dreyfuss. With the Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union capturing the population’s imagination this space-age-shaped, playfully designed vacuum cleaner fitted the futuristic aesthetic of the time.
Constellation marketing materials predominately depicted women smiling as they used the vacuum cleaner with apparent ease, accompanied by phrases such as ‘You’ll be happier with a Hoover’. With its pull-along canister, as opposed to upright stick designs, the user appears to be less burdened by the weight of the fan mechanisms and collection bag, making vacuuming appear more effortless.
- Domestic Appliances
- Object Number:
Pipe (2002.5.3): 485 mm x 40 mm x 38 mm,
Pipe (2002.5.4): 485 mm x 40 mm x 38 mm,
Hard bristle attachment (2002.5.?): 110 mm x 145 mm x 50 mm,
Attachment (2002.5.7): 200 mm x 45 mm x 30 mm,
Main body (2002.5.1): 360 mm x 360 mm x 365 mm,
Attachment (2002.5.6): 130 mm x 240 mm x 60 mm,
Chadwicks vacuum bags: 275 mm x 190 mm x 5 mm,
Soft brush attachment: 120 mm x 90 mm x 110 mm,
Attachment (2002.5.5): 155 mm x 305 mm x 110 mm,
Flexible hose (2002.5.2): 2400 mm
- vacuum cleaner
- tools and equipment