I retired in April 2013 after 25 years as a librarian at the British Library specialising in inventions. This included running numerous workshops; writing books on inventions and a work blog; carrying out searches for clients; and one-to-one meetings with inventors. [more]


21 September 2013

The Gtech cordless vacuum cleaner

I've been meaning to write before about Nick Grey's Gtech cordless vacuum cleaner.

Dyson has been making vacuum cleaners which are emptied from their bin for many years. Grey's vacuum cleaner claims to be an advance.

There are two small compartments which are in the cleaner head, just 5 cm from the surface being cleaned. The dust and debris is compressed in bales which can easily be removed. This means a 95% electrical saving: the motor is just 100 watts, compared to 1400 to 2400 for conventional vacuum cleaners. 

In addition, it is cordless. After a four hour charge it can operate for 40 minutes. Again, cords are certainly a nuisance and potentially a hazard.

It is also light -- the AirRam model weights 3.5 kg, half the typical rival model.

Nicholas Gerald Grey, his name in the patents, is from Worcestershire and states he is a mechanical engineer in company records. As a boy he was always tinkering with things. He was head of product development for another vacuum cleaner company but left with enough savings to last him for 18 months and set up his own company in 2001, believing that he could make something better -- light, energy efficient, cordless, and easy to use. The company is Grey Technology but somewhat confusingly uses Gtech on the site.

Many millions of units have been sold by his company Grey Technology, with models changing in appearance, with US shopping channels being the first advertising push. A short video by the company certainly makes it look very interesting. The company makes other cordless devices, over 22 million units so far.

This is a list of the fifteen World patent applications in the name of Nicholas Gerald Grey.

He does seem to have modified his ideas. Below is a model from 2006 for the cleaner head, as shown in among others EP1810603

First page clipping of EP1810603 (A1)

The current model, the Gtech AirRam, has a squarish head, similar in appearance to (but not necessarily identical to) that shown below, which is from his Surface cleaning apparatus patent application.

First page clipping of EP1865819 (A1)

It is interesting that the UK has, along with Dyson, another growing company which has made a leap forward in vacuum cleaner design.

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