04 April 2011

Hoover “Dirt Seeker” 1968

Our second classic appliance that refuses to kick the bucket belongs to James Sanbrook. It is a well worn Hoover “Dirt Seeker” circa 1968, a rather un-becoming name (even for a vacuum cleaner) but the Dirt Seeker represented something of a departure from established design (as well as product nomenclature) for Hoover.

Hoover Dirt Seeker Hoover Logo

James tells us that this vacuum cleaner was inherited from his mother and was bought as new in 1968, it has never broken down despite having spent its first 20 years of life as the only vacuum cleaner in a large nine room house and being subject to the rough handling of four different house keepers. It now resides in James’s two bedroom cottage and can still chew the carpet like no other.

The dirt seeker belonged to a family of machines that predominated in the 1960s, and it is probably one of the most iconic vacuum cleaners of the era. They were very powerful but the carbon brush motor was also highly efficient. James tells us that he has never been able to find a vacuum cleaner that is as effective as this one —- it has a carpet beating action that would make a pile-driver operator blush and it is also extremely loud. The only drawback is the front headlight gimmick. This requires a miniature 15watt tungsten lamp mounted in the blue front cover, but the intense vibration in this part usually kills the lamp within five minutes. It has always been rare to see one of these headlight hoovers with the light working.

As with Christine’s Iron there are probably plenty of these machines still in use across the country. They are all testament to the quality of construction that has long since disappeared in the age of designed obsolescence and the vagaries of fashion.

We are becoming a little worryingly obsessive about this already but James provided us with a sound recording of this machine operating, they had a very distinctive whirring sound complimented by the hammering carpet beater.

Thanks to James for the rather moody photos.

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