James M. Spangler
James Murray Spangler (November 20, 1848-January 22, 1915) Courtesy of Hoover Historical Center/Walsh University, North Canton, Ohio
While working as a janitor at a department store in Canton, Ohio, James Murray Spangler invented a portable electric vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner's design was upright, and it used a cloth bag to collect the dirt that was vacuumed up. Spangler first tested his invention in 1907 and patented it after a number of modifications in 1908. He founded the Electric Suction Sweeper Company to manufacture his design.
Ultimately, Spangler's invention became known as the Hoover vacuum cleaner. William Hoover was married to Spangler's first cousin, who purchased one of Spangler's early models. Intrigued by the new machine, Hoover invested in Spangler's company. He eventually became president of the Electric Suction Sweeper Company. In 1922, Hoover renamed the company the Hoover Company. Under Hoover's direction, many improvements were made in the design of the vacuum cleaner and new sales strategies were tested. The Hoover Company, with its headquarters based in North Canton, Ohio, became one of the most successful and well-known vacuum cleaner manufacturers in the world. Hoover's success means that most people today associate the vacuum cleaner with him, rather than with Spangler.