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Do Not Touch: 1910

Do Not Touch: 1910

Christchurch, New Zealand, circa 1910. "Vacuum Cleaning Company machine at DIC store." Steffano Webb Photographic Studio glass negative. View full size.


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Today’s Top 5

Three Numbers

My family moved to a small southeast Nebraska town in the early 1960s to run a hotel. That town had its own municipal telephone company. Every phone in town had a 3-digit number - our hotel had two lines, 117 and 118. To place a call, one lifted the receiver and waited for the operator to inquire, "Number please". After receiving it, she'd connect you. I don't remember how they dealt with long distance calls - I was grade school age, and such calls were expensive and therefore, rare. In the later '60s, our local company was bought out by a regional one based in Lincoln, and we finally got dial service with 7-digit numbers. Oh, how people complained about the "loss of service"!

How modern!

We have a "one lunger" hit and miss oil engine running what I believe might be an air pump from the condenser of a steam turbine. Turbines were fairly new technology at this time. Very cool.

This Really Sucks

With a vacuum motor that big you wonder how much suction it put out. If I were the family poodle, I'd be scared.

Telephone contacts

1. A 3 digit telephone number? Wow ...
2. Interesting that they have 2 numbers, one for evening. Chief salesman's house number, for those after-dinner sales questions?

Steam punks

The kids hanging around the steam-powered vacuum cleaner must be steam punks. It's nice to finally be able to make sense of that term.

Just Missed It

That sale last week.


The lady in the background lost her head after seeing seven men so interested in a vacuum cleaner.

And I thought

our old Kirby Classic III was cumbersome!


Bet that sucks.

Proper name for that machine

I believe that, technically speaking, that unit is a "contraption."

And the carefully placed chocks under the wheels were an important safety requirement, because no one wants a contraption rolling around unchecked in a crowded urban environment.

That would be bad.

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