Unveiled in 1978 but released in 1979, the Black & Decker Dustbuster was a revolutionary home-cleaning device, and the only power tool a parent was likely to let a children play with. Vroom!
Reading this retrospective, I'm both surprised and unsurprised at how innovative and well-designed the Dustbuster is. It was rechargeable, wall-mountable, used a high-tech (for the time) design based on a familiar product (the dustpan), had an immediately catchy name and was instantly indispensable for every suburban family in the country. I remember sitting on the carpet and playing with it, which is certainly not something I was likely to do with a damn cleaning product, and the product's name quickly became both a universal noun and verb ("Oh yeah, I Dustbusted the stairs yesterday.").
The Dustbuster is, I'm comfortable saying, the gadget nerd's cleaning tool. It's portable, battery-powered, cute, and versatile, and has definitely made our lives better. Cleaner, at least. [Popular Mechanics]