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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 February 2006, 00:41 GMT
Loss-making Hoover is up for sale
Hoover logo
The "Hoover" was invented by Murray Spangler in 1907
The iconic Hoover vacuum cleaner brand has now fallen so far out of favour with US consumers that its parent company is considering selling it.

The news came after its owner, US home appliance company Maytag, announced a loss of $75m (42m) for the last three months of 2005, down from $14m in 2004.

Hoover's sales fell 20% in the quarter, as it struggled with competition from rivals like Dyson and Oreck.

Maytag has already agreed to a $1.7bn takeover by its US rival Whirlpool.

Soap box and broom handle

The first Hoover vacuum was made by asthmatic department store janitor Murray Spangler, who came up with the device when dust raised from his broom aggravated his condition.

After constructing the device using a tin soap box, a fan, a sateen pillowcase and a broom handle, he sold the patent to a leather goods manufacturer, WH Hoover.

The Hoover family owned the company until it became publicly traded in 1943; Maytag acquired the company in 1989.

A Maytag spokesman said the company was "at the very beginning" of looking for a possible buyer for Hoover.

In Europe the Hoover brand is owned by a separate company, Hoover Candy Group, which has no connection with Maytag.

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