The lights are green…and it’s GO GO GO

Clare is a placement student with the museum. She found some interesting items in the collection and they made a perfect blog. she explains the rest…

I can wholeheartedly say that I hate cleaning. Especially hoovering. But one day at Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery I spotted in the corner of my eye a 70 year old Ewbank Hoover. Normally I would have instantly forgotten about it because to me hoovering is the most mundane activity that you could possibly do. However, positioned directly next to the Ewbank was a 1960s American Hoover from The Hoover Company. The clear contrast in the appearance and manufacture of the two Hoovers led me to thinking about Hoovers today and how some people will pay over £300 for the latest lightweight, cordless, awe-inspiring, turbine dust buster. But surely all Hoovers fulfil the same purpose of essentially just cleaning your floor? So why is there so much fuss over modern manufacture and changing appearances? How much can a Hoover from the 1940s really differ to a Dyson? To find out I put the Hoovers of Blackburn Museum to the test.


Without wanting to create a mess, I decided to test the Hoovers on their speed skills around an assault course in the museum’s very own Nürburgring, aka the Watercolor Gallery. I started with the oldest, so the trusty but slightly aged Ewbank went first. Although the smallest, the Ewbank was not without its problems, particularly round the sharp corners, proving that angles are not its strong suit. Second to face the challenge was the retro Hoover, which is surprisingly lighter than it seems. The next Hoover put to the test was a delightfully solid blue model from the 1990s, which was very practically made without wheels, so I had to carry it around the course, knocking down part of it on its way. Last but not least the modern day Dyson faced the track and even as an amateur cleaner, I noticed the difference in its weight, speed and ability to tackle tricky corners.


And with that race analysis, the results are in…

4th place the Ewbank with a time of 24.4 seconds

3rd place the 1990s Hoover just making the podium at 23.5

2nd place the 1960’s Hoover at 21.5

1st place the Dyson in poll position with a speedy 17.7 seconds

The final times just go to show the advancement that Hoovers have made in the last 70 years and putting them to test was anything but mundane.


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Blackburn Museum can be found in Blackburn, Lancashire. It houses objects documenting Blackburn's industrial past as well as a world class collection of Fine Art, Japanese prints, Icons, Numismatics and Manuscripts. Come and visit us to find out more.

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