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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
low tech



Our apartment is, unfortunately, carpeted, except for the kitchen and bath. So it must be vacuumed. After killing our third (or fourth) upright by our hair, we got a Mighty Mite - a tiny canister with a carpet head that compeletly lacks a beater bar. This is important. We killed the other vacuums because we both have very long hair, and those cause the beater bars to jam and the belts to break, and they're hard to change, so we'd burn out the motors.

No beater bar=no belts and no jamming. And we have low pile carpets, so it works just fine. Except that it's started to blow things out the back. I'm thinking seriously of getting a bagless model, which would do the same thing but would solve the only problem it does have - it has tiny bags that need to be changed frequently.

But meanwhile, we have a guest this weekend, so I just bought a medium tech cleaning tool. Vacuums are high tech. Brooms are low tech. Medium tech? A carpet sweeper. For those who have never heard of such things, a carpet sweeper is a device that does its job without electricity. It has a system of brushes under a metal cover that sweeps small debris into holding chambers as you move it across the floor. Then you empty the chambers. It's like using a handvac, except it's silent and you stand upright.

Does it do a perfect job? No. But it does a good enough job, and it's possibly usable on Shabbat and yom tov, which would make it wonderful for, say, Pesach. All those matzah crumbs... If I ever run a con suite again, I'm taking it with me.

But so long as we're talking tech - I'm reading 19th C novels right now. And, my goodness. They were living in darkness, weren't they? When Lucy Steele was pushed to make her filigree basket for Lady Middleton's daughter, her ladyship had her servant bring in a work candle and there was still concern about Lucy's eyes. When Fanny Price dressed to go to the Grants for dinner, everyone said, "You look well from what I could tell in this light.", and Mr. Crawford went by the fire to have enough light to read Shakespeare aloud.

It's even more clear in Jane Eyre - if her nursemaid took the candle away, Jane would sit in the nursery until the fire died down too much and she had to go to bed. When she first goes to Lowood, she is in a room with no light but the hearth, and she can barely make out that there is a painting. The girls gather around two candles per table plus a fire to study.

A few years ago, there was a massive black out on the East Coast. We didn't get our power back for over 24 hours - I just enough time to prepare Shabbat dinner. And we ended up going to bed early because even with every one of my candle holders (and I have many) holding burning candles, it was still too dark to read.

I suspect that an oil lamp would have done a better job. I notice that in Half-Blood Prince, the wizarding world is using them.

And that makes me wonder just how dark is Hogwarts at night, given it's lit only by fire, albeit magical fire.

Comments

a vacuum that hair can't kill?!?!? you must tell me more please ;) who makes this wonder and where can I buy it?

My mother had one of those sweepers when I was growing up (possibly still does, for all I know). It was great for the carpetted stairs; pulling the upright onto each step was a pain and hoses were too much trouble to fuss with, but with this we could just run over each step and we were done. Used it for crumbs around the table when my sister and I were young and slovenly, too.

I am thinking of getting a carpet sweeper, because my times of maximum energy are late enough at night that noise is an issue.

Carpet sweepers are awesome. They were REVOLUTIONARY in the Victorian era; they had non-electrified pump vacuums, but they were more work than just sweeping.

And yeah, I used to get power outages all the time and it is just murder trying to read by candlelight. Oyyyy. I have shielded emergency candles, even.

I have tried several of the non-powered sweepers, but cat hair seems to defeat them (at least with long-haired cats).

I now have a rechargeable electric version. Just as light and compact as the non-powered versions, but can actually manage to be useful before enough cat hair builds up to act like a spring and kick everything that comes in right back out again.

Yes, carpet sweepers are usable on Shabbat and Yomtov.

My mother used to have a carpet sweeper when I was a kid.

Old Sturbridge Village has an exhibit where you could see the comparable light from candle, whale oil lamps, gas lighting and modern bulbs.

It was astonishingly dark.

Just found a description: http://www.osv.org/education/OSVisitor/Lanterns.html