Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Ever-changing Street Sweeper

The Industrial Revolution caught on with the United States gradually, but when it became widespread, the manufacturing sector displaced many people whose skills could be replicated by machinery more efficiently. However, the introduction of the mechanical sweeper in both England and the United States in the 1840s did not replace the human street sweeper, largely because the innovation did not seem anything revolutionary back then,
Things changed with the introduction of a motor-driven pickup street sweeper by Elgin Sweeper in Illinois, which was first purchased in Boise, Idaho in 1913 right after a demonstration. For Boise's street commissioner, the selling point was the amount the city would save. A horse-drawn sweeper would cost $2,716.77 more. Patents to an enhanced version of the original sweeper were not filed and issued until 1917.
It was in the 1970s, however, when the street sweepers received a major upgrade. Until then, the sweeper can only collect large particles such as fallen leaves and various urban refuse. The roads looked neat, but they remain dirty with smaller particles that mix with rainwater when showers come.

Therefore, it was the need to minimize pollution in water collected by storm drains that pushed the street sweepers of today to be more sophisticated and effective as they are now able to collect small particles of debris. Nowadays, Elgin street sweepers are also equipped with water tanks and sprayers to help the sweeping devices to reduce dust. 


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