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James Murray Spangler

Born: 20-Nov-1848
Birthplace: Plain Township, PA
Died: 22-Jan-1915
Location of death: Chicago, IL
Cause of death: Illness
Remains: Buried, Westlawn Cemetery, Canton, OH

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Invented the upright vacuum cleaner

James Murray Spangler was a janitor, almost 60 and cursed with asthma, who grew frustrated at the tedious and dusty work of sweeping the carpet in the store where he worked. A tinkerer at heart, he held patents for a grain harvester and a hay raking device, and he set his mind to making an electric carpet sweeper. Using a motor scavenged from a sewing machine to turn a small fan for suction, with a pillow case for a dustbag, a beater-bar cranked by a leather band attached to the fan engine, and a broom handle to push his contraption around the floor, he constructed the first portable electric vacuum cleaner in 1907.

Spangler's device was not the first vacuum cleaner. Hubert Cecil Booth, a British inventor, had patented the first true vacuum cleaner in 1901, but Booth's machine was gasoline-powered, horse-drawn, and had to be parked in the street, with workers carrying long vacuum hoses into clients' businesses. Spangler's vacuum cleaner was the first that was practical for home use.

Spangler founded the Electric Suction Sweeper Company in 1908, with funds borrowed from his cousin’s husband, a saddle and harness manufacturer named William Hoover. By 1910, Hoover was President of the company, and renamed it the Hoover Suction Sweeper Company. Spangler worked as Hoover's factory superintendent until his death in 1915, and the Hoover company stopped making royalty payments to his family when his patent expired, in 1925.

Father: William Spangler (b. 9-Jul-1815, d. 18-Feb-1889)
Mother: Elizabeth Lind Spangler (b. 10-Oct-1814, m. 3-Sep-1835, d. 17-Jul-1887)
Brother: Joseph C. Spangler (b. 21-May-1837, d. 22-Jan-1922)
Brother: John Lind Spangler (b. 3-Feb-1839, d. 22-Sep-1914)
Sister: Elizabeth Spangler Birkett (b. 1-Feb-1841, d. 22-Nov-1919)
Brother: Hiram Spangler (b. 13-Nov-1842, d. 1-Jan-1926)
Brother: George Henry Spangler (b. 5-Jan-1845, d. 22-Jan-1905)
Brother: Charles Spangler (b. 14-Nov-1846, d. 31-May-1928)
Sister: Harriet Spangler Troxel (b. 30-Sep-1850, d. 28-Jun-1920)
Sister: Emma Jane Spangler (b. 12-Mar-1853, d. 1-Apr-1931)
Brother: William Henry Spangler (b. 13-Jan-1855, d. 22-Apr-1872)
Sister: Alice Spangler (b. 1857, d. infancy)
Wife: Elestra Amanda Holtz Spangler (“Lettie”, b. 1852, m. 21-May-1874, three children)
Son: Clarence Spangler (Hoover employee, b. 29-Feb-1876, d. 2-Dec-1911)
Son: Francis Spangler
Daughter: Jennie Spangler Painter (Hoover employee, b. 22-Jul-1879)

    Hoover Founder & CEO (1908-10)
    National Inventors Hall of Fame 2006
    Risk Factors: Asthma


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