Fads. They seem like such a good idea, at least at the time. Then the years roll by and we look back and wonder, “what the hell were we thinking?”
A few weeks ago when I was out looking at houses in San Francisco I came across a house being sold as a total fixer that had the remnants of an old central vacuum system. As you can see from the picture above, the manufacturer is Sequoia central vacuums, and believe it or not the company is still around! Even more amazing – they’re a local company with headquarters down in Menlo Park.
I’ll admit I’ve always had a fascination with vacuum cleaners. Don’t ask me why, I can’t explain it. True story – when I was just a wee boy of 3 or 4 years old, I got separated from my parents at the mall. They were completely freaked out, but found me staring at the window display of the vacuum store. Let’s try not to read too much into this, okay? Thanks!
The pitch behind central vacuums was that they were lightweight and more efficient, allowing the ladies of the house to keep it sparking clean without having to over-exert their delicate natures. Oh the sexism, how it still burns decades later!
Clearly the ladies weren’t impressed with this claim because although the fad of central vacuum systems seems to recur about every 20 years or so, the idea never really sticks. I’ve never lived in a home with a central vacuum (oh, the deprivation I’ve suffered) so I have no idea how well they actually work, but I have a very hard time imagining that they can come anywhere close to the power of a Dyson.
But regardless of if it actually works or not, how cool would it be to have an R2D2 looking vacuum cleaner?