In 1907 Murray Spangler, a local janitor and inventor, had asthma and wanted to find a solution to keep the dust from aggravating his medical issue. He gathered together a variety of different items including a tin soap box, pillow case, broom handle and fan. With these items he assembled an odd contraption that managed to pull the dust away so he did not breathe it in as he cleaned. He soon began looking for financial backing and met with W.H. “Boss” Hoover, a local leather goods manufacturer. Hoover bought the patent from Spangler in 1908 and began having employees assemble these new vacuums in the corner of the leather goods shop.
Hoover soon started placing small ads in the Saturday Evening Post offering any customers who wanted to try this new product of his a free ten day trial. If they decided to then purchase the “suction sweeper” Hoover sent them to local stores in each customer's city so that they would be supporting other small businesses. These store managers were able to keep any commission from the sale. This was the first step to Hoover laying ground work for a national dealer network. Engineers continued to work on the product making it more efficient as they continued to attract new customers. The company continued to grow and built multiple plants throughout Ohio with its main plant remaining in Hoover's hometown of North Canton. In 2007 Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd. (TTI) acquired the Hoover product line from Whirlpool and continues to make Hoover products to this day.
The Hoover name became well known for more than its vacuums in the 1940s once the United States entered WWII. In this main plant the Hoover Company became one of the biggest contributors to the war effort. They shut down production on their vacuums and used the various machines to make items to send to the soldiers fighting the war. With the machines that created the vacuum cleaner bags they made parachutes and also created the plastic liners for helmets out of the same materials that they used for the plastic on the vacuums.
The main plant of the Hoover Company can still be seen from afar because of the very prominent smoke stack proudly displaying the Hoover name. The main plant though is no longer used for making Vacuum cleaners. After remaining empty for many years, the building was recently purchased and is still in the process of being remodeled. Stark State College has placed classrooms within the building as well as other business offices. Restaurants and apartments are due to be placed inside the building as well. While the original interior is no long intact, the exterior for the most part remains the same. If traveling through North Canton, it is worth a quick stop past the Hoover Company to see where so much technological history took place. Be sure to look for the large smoke stack prominently making its appearance in the North Canton skyline.