By Dan Coles
A man who became obsessed with vacuum cleaners when he was a child has revealed he’s spent 25 years building up a 100-strong collection of them – but admits he actually hates cleaning.
Sam Watson, 32, from Thame, Oxfordshire, loved watching his mum clean the carpets when he was a child and begged her for a machine of his own when he was just 10.
He’s since spent his entire life collecting the hoovers and now has 100 of them in his house dating back over 50 years.
Sam keeps a spreadsheet documenting each device and regularly services and cleans them to make sure they keep in tip-top shape and even creates videos to help people understand how their own carpet cleaner works.
But Sam, a Software Tester, admits that despite his love of dust busters, he actually doesn’t really enjoy cleaning his own house that much.
Sam said: “When I was a kid I always enjoyed seeing my mum get the vacuum out and watching her clean the house.
“That enjoyment grew and I got more into how they worked and the mechanics inside them so I would always try to find out more about them.
“I got my first vacuum from the tip when I was a kid, it was a Hoover Junior which I really liked, I have around 100 now with 98 officially on my spreadsheet and the rest in bits upstairs.
“I buy them as cheap as I can and have spent about £500 on them over the years because I could buy broken ones and fix them up to a good working standard. I clean them, polish them and keep them as good as new.
“There are some that are quite rare which I keep hold of because I haven’t seen them before or after, so I want to keep them in my own personal collection.
“I choose them on rarity, or if they’re older and in good condition, sometimes I’ll refurbish them and sell them on but only if they’re easy to get hold of because I want to keep the rare ones for myself.
“All of the older ones are metal and painted which obviously doesn’t hold up well and I like to judge them on how complete the item is – if it has the box and manual that’s exactly what I would look to buy.
“What is quite funny is I don’t really like cleaning and I only vacuum my own house when it needs it, at most once a day.
“I just think its so satisfying when you can hear the dirt getting sucked up into the machine.”
Sam has been collecting his hoovers since he was a boy and is always looking out for a bargain that he can fix up to a good working standard.
Now, he creates videos to help people fix their own hoovers and has become an expert by accident in repairing the cleaning devices.
Sam said: “People tell me all the time how I have saved their day because they didn’t have to go out and buy a new one.
“Usually everyone jumps online and buys a brand-new £600 machine, which you don’t need to do.”
Sam has had a mix of reactions to his collection, some say it’s odd and others enjoy seeing the different hoovers and how they have changed over the years.
Sam said: “People are a lot more interested that I am, but nowadays with social media you see more and more odd collections which normalises mine.
“I get all sorts of people asking me if I know how to fix their machines and I often know how to so it’s great being able to help other people.
“It’s the odd stuff that people are interested in but I do get lots of negative comments as well, what I hate the most is the people who think they know better.
“I’ll tell them how to fix their hoover and someone else will pipe up and don’t have a clue how to do it but still say I’m wrong.
Sam has no plans to sell his collection and instead hopes to get his hands on more of the rarer released machines that are no longer sold in shops.
He said: “I have always enjoyed collecting the hoovers and I don’t think I’ll stop any time soon, but now that I have so many I have to keep them in the loft.”