In-dust-tructable: Britain’s oldest hoover
Britain’s oldest working vacuum cleaner certainly is IN-DUST-RUCTIBLE – and is still being used 85 YEARS after it was first bought.
Owner Bill Whitwam inherited the 1929 Hoover Senior from his parents in the 1950s and the silver cleaner is still in working order – and has hoovered the equivalent of 125 Wembley pitches over almost a century in use.
In its eight and a half decades the Hoover has covered a whopping 224 acres – equal to 125 football pitches at Wembley Stadium.
Despite a few understandable dents, 80-year-old Bill has never bought a replacement part for the appliance and re-wires the machine himself.
Bill said: “In its lifetime it’s covered some distance – fortunately I haven’t done it all.
“I’m living in a two-bedroom terraced house after downsizing a five years ago from a five bedroom detached house.
“It’s a bit heavy for me to use every week now but before that it was used two to three times a week.
“As a family we always had pets and they needed cleaning up after and in a house that big you’re always making a mess.
“The Senior was obviously built to last – unlike some of the vacuums you get now which die after a few years.”
Finished in silver, the vintage vacuum has a dust bag on the rear but as it is constructed largely from metal, it is heavier than its successors.
The ageing appliance was a wedding gift to Bill’s parents, Willie and Phyllis, and it was his mum’s pride and joy due its luxury status.
After their death it was passed to the retired textile manufacturer who used it weekly to clean his home in Aylestone, Leicestershire.
Due to its weight, Bill has stopped using it as much, but the appliance still retains all of its power.
The 80-year-old said: “Unlike some newer devices, the Senior hasn’t lost any of its suction.
“It never misses a speck of dust and I have even used it to hoover up gravel in the garden before.
“The only work I’ve had to do is rewire it when plugs went from two to three prongs.
“It’s only downside is how cumbersome it is – it doesn’t manoeuvre the stairs particularly well.”
Impressed by the machine’s longevity, Bill started collecting vintage vacuums and he now has a collection of 20 stored in his spare bedroom.
Some are more than 100 years old, including one said to have been used to clean the carpets on the Titanic, but the Hoover Senior is the oldest still in working order.
Bill uses his skills learned as a Royal Signals technician in his early 20s to maintain his vintage vacuum.