Monday, August 15, 2016
A WPA-preserved carpet sweeper
Above: The description for this 1937 photo reads, "this is the original working model of a carpet sweeper invented by D. Hess in 1860, retained on display in the search room of the United States Patent Office. It is one of 20,000 original working models selected for restoration and display at the National Museum with the aid of the Works Progress Administration." According to a Wikipedia article, "In 1860 a carpet sweeper was invented by Daniel Hess of West Union, Iowa that gathered dust with a rotating brush and a bellows for generating suction." Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
Above: John Harde, a WPA worker, restores damaged farm equipment models, as part of the WPA effort to preserve American inventions. Like today, many people thought that the federal government had no business helping people in need - the general welfare sections of the U.S. Constitution be damned. But in the above WPA project we see an example of a win-win situation. A jobless man was provided a work opportunity and American history was preserved - two things that the private sector was unable, unwilling, or uninterested in doing during much of the 1930s. 1937 photo, courtesy of the National Archives.