1947: Autumn leaves no match for sweeping machine
• Inventor Charles Brooks patented the first street sweeper truck in 1896. Brushes attached to the front fender pushed trash to the curb.
• The Elgin Sweeper Co. in Illinois delivered its first motorized sweeper to Boise, Idaho, in 1914, using a unique three-wheel design to manoeuvre around horses, carriages and cars.
• The primary task of street sweeping used to be simply to eliminate unsightly, unsanitary trash from urban roads. Today the task includes an anti-pollution component. Vacuum sweepers are about 90% more efficient in picking up fine-grained sediment particles, and drastically reduce the pollution entering our streams and rivers. However, they are ineffective on wet pavement.
• Today's communities have a choice of three sweeping technologies: traditional mechanical sweepers, vacuum-assisted sweepers, and regenerative-air sweepers. The latter blast air onto the road to loosen particles, and vacuum them into a hopper. Most cities still mainly use mechanical broom-type sweepers.
• The best time to sweep is when few vehicles are on the roads. However, that's usually in the early morning hours, so cities have to be careful about equipment noise levels.
• By 2002, Toronto had 280 manual street cleaning collectors, 125 street cleaning equipment operators, 58 street sweepers, 14 flusher trucks, and 35 sidewalk sweepers/litter vacuums.
Program: CBC News Roundup
Broadcast Date: Oct. 30, 1947
Guest(s): William Osborne
Reporter: Bill Beatty
Photo: National Archives - C-02742, Bloor Street, Toronto, 1930
Last updated: October 21, 2014
Page consulted on October 21, 2014
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