James B. Kirby is a name that resonates with innovation and groundbreaking inventions. Countless tales surround this legendary figure, but today we will focus on his remarkable impact on the vacuum cleaner industry, aligning with the main objective of this site.
Kirby had a natural talent for mechanics and enjoyed tinkering with machines. He would often disassemble mechanical appliances to understand their inner workings and would even improve their performance.
He started his own struggling invention shop, facing the challenge of finding ways to bring his perfected creations to the market. One of his inventions was a barbershop massaging machine, but he lacked the means to market it. Eventually, the P. A. Geier Co. recognized the potential and took on his patents. P.A Geier came to be The Royal Vacuum Cleaner Co.of today.
One day, he witnessed a wagon with a long hose sucking up dirt and dust from a house. This observation inspired him to come up with a smaller version that can be used at homes everywhere effortlessly and in 1906, he completed his first vacuum cleaner. It was a tank-type cleaner operated by a pump handle, using water to separate dust from the air. Although it wasn’t initially practical, Kirby continued to refine his designs. In 1907, he created a motor-driven model, and in the same year, he designed a lightweight, portable electric cleaner with a dust bag and long handle.