The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

January 07, 2008


I'm a sucker for anthropomorphism. Latest point to prove it: The other day, after talking about it for only about ten years or so, I finally went and ordered a Henry. In case you haven't heard about Henry yet, it's only one of the most popular vacuum cleaners in the UK, with over 6 million sold.

Part of this extraordinary success is apparently that Henry is built for heavy use and near indestructible, but I think the true secret to his success is that he is also irresistibly cute, as, by the way, are his brethren Charles, George and James.

vacuum cleaners Henry, George and James

It's also refreshing to see that the designers at Numatic Ltd aren't entirely immune to Henry's cuteness either, as their latest product demonstrates: Hetty. The accompanying text reveals the full extent to which the anthropomorph vacuum cleaners have affected designers and customers alike:

Everyone knows Henry, Europe’s favourite vacuum cleaner [...]. Henry has now got a friend ... Hetty. So you now have a choice ... Henry or Hetty ... or both! Hetty is not just a pretty face, she has all of the Henry features and specification [...]. People love Henry ... and you'll soon be loving Hetty too!

I have to admit that Hetty is indeed a cutie. I suppose the day when I place an order for a Hetty just so that my Henry doesn't feel so lonely is the day when you can officially call me an eccentric.

Posted by Horst on January 7, 2008 11:05 PM to creatures great & small | Tell-a-friend
ssp said on January 8, 2008 02:04 PM:

We had a Henry as well when I lived in the UK. I always loved its smile. Reasonably powerful as well and easier to manoeuvre than the typical rectangular vacuum cleaner.

dieter said on January 9, 2008 03:30 PM:

That would be very eccentric indeed. I also considered buying a Henry, about 20 years ago, simply because there were so many around and I somewhat found it funny. However, I ended up not doing so. Curiously, the reason for not buying precisely was that I couldn't take that small thingy with a smile seriously as a tool. And I didn't like the colour very much.

Jann said on January 10, 2008 07:37 AM:

This is indeed a very cute thing, Horst! Also very cool! The vacuum cleaner that I had for 25 years finally broke, and for the past couple of years, on the rare occasions when vacuuming seemed required, I would borrow my daughter's, a heavy, awkward thing, hard to push, and which never seemed to work properly.(Actually she's had several of this type).

I think I've just become enthusiastic about vacuum cleaners again!

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