A History Lesson With Booze ®

The vacuum cleaner and The Suck It Up

This week back in 1899, John Thurman patented a device that was almost — but not quite a vacuum cleaner. Inspiring Englishman Hubert C. Booth to invent the real deal. But it took another few years (and ditching the horse-drawn cart) for the dust-busting device to take off as a consumer product, thanks to an Ohio janitor and a business baron named Hoover.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The History Lesson

Right around this time back in 1901, Englishman Hubert Cecil Booth patented a revolutionary device. Hubert Cecil Booth’s invention sucked. Really — that’s what it did!

See, Hubert created the motorized vacuum cleaner. He got the idea while watching another inventor demonstrate a really lame gadget: A machine that cleaned carpets by blowing dust off them. Hubert thought it’d be cooler if the machine sucked dust up. But how to keep it from coming right back out? One night, Hubert laid a handkerchief on a sofa, put his mouth over it — and inhaled. The fabric trapped a ton of grime. Eureka! The vacuum filter.

Hubert’s vacuum wasn’t like the thing in your closet. It was a huge gas-powered pump mounted on a horse-drawn cart. He’d park it outside a house, run tubes through the windows, and fire it up. The noise was insane. But housewives loved it! They threw parties, so friends could watch dirt shoot down the transparent hoses. Hubert got rich selling this vacuuming service. But it wasn’t ‘til 1908 that anyone sold an actual vacuum. A smaller, portable version invented by an Ohio janitor. And manufactured by a guy named William Henry — Hoover.

Suck It Up as concocted by bartender Melissa Venditti of the Main Street Grill in North Canton, Ohio — Hoover’s former hometown:

Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com
Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com

In a mixing glass, add:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Canadian Whiskey
  • 1/4 oz. amaretto
  • generous splash of fresh-squeezed lemonade
  • splash of soda water

Chill, pour into martini glass, serve it up, hoover it down.