Listen to this article here

The first patent for a window cleaner was issued in 1892 to Anthony L. Lewis of Evanston, Illinois.

The patent, number 483,359, was for a “window cleaner” that consisted of a flexible reservoir that held a supply of water, and a scraper attached to a handle.

Generally, the water was applied to the window with the reservoir, and the scraper was used to remove the dirt and water.

Squeegee man on the Cross Bronx Expressway. Photo: Edward Keating/Contact Press Images

The 1892 patent was a significant improvement over the traditional methods which involved using a bucket of water and a sponge. While the flexible reservoir made it easier to apply the water evenly to the window, the scraper helped to remove the dirt and water more effectively.

The Lewis cleaner was not the only one that was patented in the 19th century. However, it was one of the most successful, and paved the way for the development of the modern window cleaner.

A teenager earning money on Martin Luther King Boulevard. – J.M. Giordano.

His cleaner was a simple device, but it was a major innovation. Notwithstanding the racism of the era in which he lived, Lewis thrived and made a squeaky clean name for himself.

It made it easier and more efficient to clean windows, and improved the appearance of homes and businesses.

Additional details about the Lewis window cleaner:

  • The reservoir was made of soft rubber, and it was open at one side to allow the body block to be inserted.
  • The scraper was made of wood, and it had a rounded working surface.
  • The window cleaner was held in the hand, and the scraper was used to move the water across the window in a back-and-forth motion.
  • The Lewis window cleaner was advertised as being “easy to use” and “effective in removing dirt and grease.”
window cleaner
Photo Courtesy: Dan Rodricks. A City Councilman challenges the angry narrative about squeegee workers of Baltimore.

Eventually, his cleaner was a success, and it was manufactured by several companies. However, it was eventually replaced by more modern cleaners that were made with modern materials and that had different features.

Nevertheless, Lewis laid the bedrock foundation for what would become the modern window cleaner.

His ingenuity has helped everyone to see what’s going on outside with a clearer view.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply