Friday, 30 September 2016

Sucks to be UU: Portland's Vacuum Cleaner Museum

I paid for my own airfare to the USA, and stayed in Portland as a guest of Railbookers and Travel Portland.

When I visited Portland last year, I was on the lookout for curious attractions. The west coast US city has a reputation for the eccentric, and it proved to be a reputation well deserved.

One of the odder sights I happened across was Stark's Vacuum Cleaner Museum:


No, not that Stark... though it would been an apt place for Iron Man to have got his start.

Located in a branch of the retailer Stark's Vacuums in the city's Eastside neighbourhood, it turned out to be more of a jumble of old equipment than a carefully curated collection.

Having said that, it was interesting to browse.

There were antiquated carpet sweepers, the unpowered predecessors of vacuum cleaners and something I remember encountering as a kid.

How they actually worked eludes me, as they just seemed to push dust around. But here they were:


There were also plenty of vacuum cleaners of diverse vintages on display:




As you can see there was very little organisation to the collection, though some items had a detailed explanatory tag such as this:


At the end of the exhibition was a selection of smaller devices. Of these, I was most intrigued by the Hoover Dustette in its box. Was this the world's first handheld vac?


(Yes, apparently. I looked it up later. It was released in 1930.)

Stark's Vacuum Cleaner Museum didn't detain me long, as I had more to do elsewhere in the city. My laundry, for a start. My next stop was the funky laundromat known as Spin Laundry Lounge.

I was having a thoroughly housework-themed Portland day.

Stark's Vacuum Cleaner Museum is located at 107 NE Grand Avenue, Portland; free entry during shopping hours. For more of my discoveries in Portland, see my article for Fairfax Traveller: Ten Attractions Keeping Portland Weird.