Where can you find what’s arguably the world’s largest collection of vacuum cleaning devices of all kinds? In the Don Aslett Museum of Clean in Pocatello, of course! The fascinating history of vacuum cleaners is revealed through the museum’s displays of more kinds of vacuum cleaning equipment that the average person could ever imagine!
Who knew that inventors, designers, tinkerers, and manufacturers would use all their energy to answer the burning question of average housewives and commercial building owners all over the Western world; How can I get dirt our of my carpets?
With the advent of the wide use of carpeting, the quest for convenient and efficient vacuum suction began.
In 2006, Don Aslett purchased a huge collection of Swiss-born Peter Frei that included a remarkable variety of pre-electric vacuum devices and other mechanical oddities.
In some ways, the purchases of the collection provided impetus for creating a museum to highlight the ingenuity of man’s fight to overcome dirt.
Try out the “Pnuevac” pre-electric hand-pumped vacuum, dating from circa 1900, consisting of a large wooden box, a hose, and a long rod to work the pump.
In the Don Aslett collection is the world’s first motor-powered vacuum, from circa 1900, used in Great Britain. This horse drawn central vacuum would park outside large buildings while a gas powered exterior engine was used to create the suction necessary to clean the interior of building.
You will see the 1912 vacuum that took two people to operate. One person would stand on the device and operate the tow alternating bellows with his feet, while the other person pulled the head of the vacuum hose along the carpet. Visitors can see non-electric carpet sweepers of all kinds. Some are similar in design to those we use today, while some work with bellows, cranks, plungers, or wheels
What can be done with old vacuums that no longer work? Make them into art, of course! At the Museum of Clean, visitors can take a look at sculptures of dinosaurs, robots, insects, spiders, mailboxes, and animals made from old vacuum parts.
Old English City:
This exhibit will give a chilling view of the health hazards rampant in early cities, including dirt, reckless waste disposal, litter, rats, vermin, crowds, and diseases. Museum visitors can get a feel for what it was like to be a chimney sweep by standing in a cramped chimney mock-up, and hearing the sad story of chimney sweep boys from the 1700’s and 1800s in England and other countries. Visitors can also take a look at an original coal furnace used in the old brick building that houses the museum.
The old Time Store Display:
This display features signs, furnishings, hardware, chemicals, tools, machines, and other antiques, as they would be found in a general store in the late 1800s. Those who stop in at Old Time Store will get a view of what was sold and used back then, what it cost, and what has carried over into the stores of today.
The Vacuum Quad:
An attractive four-armed 30-foot display of 50 fascinating pre-electric vacuums is designed for museum patrons to not only look at, but to try out for them selves. The area includes comical and creative sculptures of robots, insects, and animals made from vacuum parts, and other cleaning equipment.