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The History of Floor Machines

The first useful electric-powered floor machines date back to the early 1900s. Coincidentally, this was about the same time vacuum cleaners were introduced, which we discussed last month.

"The first floor machines were known as 'divided-weight' machines. With these machines, the bulk of the weight of the machine was on its rear wheels, which remained on the floor during operation. The buffer rolled in a push-pull fashion over the floor for both scrubbing and polishing.

These early machines used brushes made of Tampico and Bassine, vegetable fibers used for centuries for floor scrubbing and polishing. To polish wood floors, carnauba wax would be applied to the floor, and then polished to a shine by going back and forth over the floor with the buffer.

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Kaivac Q & A

How can I permanently eliminate recurring odor in our school restrooms?

Foul-smelling restrooms consistently generate more complaints than any other part of the building, which is no surprise considering they're a refuge for soils and odor-causing bacteria.

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Productivity: It's All About People

At the annual meeting of the Consumer Specialty Products Association in Chicago in May 2009, the manager of a major U.S. government facility discussed how he had "Greened" his building, and how it eventually earned LEED certification as a result of his efforts. This speaker also talked about the large disparity he sometimes experiences between what cleaning contractors promise in terms of worker training and what they actually do.

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