Posted by: blogone | May 13, 2006

Spare a thought next time you ‘Spangler’ your house.

When I got home from work at the restaurant tonight Andrea greeted me with a question. "Will you Spangler the apartment when I'm out tomorrow?" I asked, "What are you on about?"


Andrea asked, "what do you call it when you clean the carpet with a machine?" "Hoovering", I responded, knowing now where this was going. Andrea was reading Bill Bryson's 'Made in America, an informal history of the English language in the United States'.

The 'Electric Suction Sweeper' was invented by J Murray Spanger at the turn of the century. Unable to make a success of it he turned for advice from W.H. Hoover. Hoover knew nothing about the ESS, but did know a good business idea when he saw it. Before long there were Hoover factories all over the world. He was credited with an invention that he had nothing to do with. Spanger was forgotten.

The English have turned the name Hoover into a verb, 'To Hoover'. Imgine it was the other way around, and it was Spangler's name that was a verb. 'Oh the house is a mess, I need to Spangler', sounds kind of odd. However nothing odd about saying 'Hoover'.

Unless you live in America, where it sounds weird to say 'Hoover', the common thing to say is 'Vacuum', crazy Yanks! 🙂



  1. If the personal pronoun Spanger – leads to the verb To Spangler then surely we’ve all been misguided for many years and we should be Hooverling our respective dwellings?

  2. perfect site good information, very nice news and etc… tnx

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