By Tom Gasko, Former Curator, Vacuum Cleaner Museum

When Riccar’s engineers began their design of the ultra-lightweight models, they had one goal in mind. Carpet cleaning had to be exceptional, and the vacuum weight had to be about the same as a gallon of milk.

The engineers chose a fan-first motor design, which is traditionally the best way to get a carpet clean, but with a modification. They made the suction fan the same size as a full-size vacuum, resulting in tremendous suction.

In other ultra-lightweight cleaner designs, the suction fan is only slightly larger than a 50-cent coin. Low suction and airflow gave those competitive cleaners only lackluster carpet cleaning ability. Riccar’s engineers also designed the cleaner’s duct work on a much larger scale to prevent clogging.

Finally, the engineers designed a quick-release soleplate to make changing the belt simple and easy – no tools needed. This was a far cry from the competitive designs that required five or more screws to be removed. The brushroller was reimagined by Riccar’s engineers as well – to sweep all the dirt towards the intake and not away from it. Superior edge cleaning was the natural result.

Tom Gasko was the curator of the Vacuum Cleaner Museum in St. James, Missouri when it opened in 2009 until 2019. He has extensive knowledge of vacuum cleaners and has owned his own vacuum store. In his free time, he restores antique vacuums. His knowledge and experience give him a unique perspective on developing, testing and evaluating vacuum cleaners, and Riccar engineers worked with Tom regularly to work out vacuum problems through new designs and technology. Note the Vacuum Cleaner Museum closed in May 2019.