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1950 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Alexander M. Lewyt*

Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner

"Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within 10 years."

Alexander Lewyt was born in 1908 in the Washington Heights section of New York City's Manhattan. He was the son of an Austrian immigrant who ran a shop that made metal gadgets, such as coat hangers. While in high school, Lewyt worked in his father's shop. Upon his father's death, Lewyt took over the shop and named it the Lewyt Corporation. During World War II, the company did well manufacturing radar antennas and popcorn poppers. He is best known for the Lewyt vacuum cleaner, which he invented after going door to door asking housewives what they were looking for in a vacuum. His machine was compact and used no dust bag. It was popular because it operated without distorting television or radio reception. In the late 1950s, Lewyt was instrumental in establishing the North Shore Animal League, which handles thousands of animal adoptions. A director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lewyt's art collection included works by Cezanne, Degas, Gauguin, and Renoir.

* Deceased