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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Brushes With Adequacy: 1925

Brushes With Adequacy: 1925

Washington, D.C., circa 1925. "OK Brush Co., exterior." When constrained cleaning budgets preclude the purchase of the best in bristles, consider settling for an OK Vacuum Brush. National Photo Company glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Faulty brands

OK Brush outlasted the So So Sewing Machine Company by only a few weeks.


Was there a street address for this with the photo? Just curious. Looks like Penn Quarter area.

[Good question. Where are we? - Dave]

They were beaten out of business, right?

By the Outstanding Vacuum Brush Co.

Proto Dustbuster

Commercial America, Vol. 18, 1921

Handy Vacuum Brush

Wherever electric current is available, the vacuum cleaner has proved itself to be a most sanitary and practical way of cleaning rugs and carpets. The problem of cleaning upholstered furniture, pillows, mattresses, draperies, etc., also presents itself, however, and the use of the older hand brushes seems laborious when compared to the efficacy of the modern floor cleaner.

The O. K. Vacuum Brush has been designed for this sundry work by the O. K. Machine Co., Inc., Fort Wayne, Indiana, to supplement the work of the vacuum cleaner and to lighten the task of keeping dust from accumulating. The machine is a complete unit built especially for small cleaning, having a motor-driven brush which picks up lint, and at the same time has ample air suction to remove dirt and grit imbedded in the surface of the fabric.

A desirable feature of the brush is the self cleaning dust bag in the handle. All that is necessary to clean the bag is to remove the cap on the rear of the handle and turn on the motor, which blows out all the dirt. The clumsy, dirty dust bag, hanging in the way and dragging over the cleaned surface, is eliminated in this way. The motor is turned off and on by a thumb controlled switch on the motor case.

The device is especially useful in cleaning automobile upholstery. For this purpose and for places where there is likely to be an over amount of dirt an auxiliary dust bag is furnished which attaches to the rear end of the handle, and by a loop over the arm. The operator is thus enabled to clean for a considerable length of time without emptying the bag, which is kept out of the way, requiring the use of only one hand to operate the machine. The O. K. Vacuum Brush has a 110-voIt universal motor wound on precision ball bearings.

Am I seeing stars?

On the ledge just below the arched window, on either side there is something with a star coming out of the top. Maybe a decorative vent of some kind. Always intrigued with these photos. Thanks and keep them coming!

Re: Assignment for Dave

Sorry for taking up too much space here, but I don't know what "Ima" means.
As far as the camera goes, my guess is an Agfa ( thanks Binghamton, NY)
with an attached Schneider Xenar f4.5, 24 c.m lens. Why, because I have one
and want to be a wise-guy.

All in the Family

OK brushes. Inferior to Fuller Brushes.

Assignment for Dave

Name that camera.

["Ima." - Dave]

Brush of a Thousand Uses

1. Sweep the kitchen floor.
2. Sweep the parlor floor.
3. Sweep the hall.
4. Sweep the stairs.
5. Sweep the bedrooms.

We're still working on 6-1,000.


This is one of the only photos I can remember on Shorpy where the photographer is visible. When I was shooting architecture for clients, this would be a strict "no-no." But I love the fact that we get to see a little bit of the craft behind the shot.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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