ST. JAMES, Missouri — The first in Tom Gasko’s impressive collection of vacuum cleaners arrived before he was born. It was a summer day in 1962 and his mother, Jean, was pregnant and uncomfortably hot. The Rainbow vacuum salesman in her living room realized she was in no mood to listen to his sales pitch, so he placed ice in the vacuum’s water pan, switched on the machine and blew cool air on her.
Many of his 704 vacuums, including the Rainbow that brought sweet relief to his mother, is on display in a museum he curates in St. James, Missouri.
“If you turned on a vacuum and I couldn’t see it, I could probably tell you the brand just by the pitch of the motor,” Gasko told Cult of Mac. “I’ve always been fascinated by the motors and how subtle changes over the years to design affects the suction.”