Having grown up in the sixties; I am acutely aware that the world we lived in just a few short decades ago is strikingly different to the brave new world of today.
Most of us have experienced the explosion in technological advances that in general have provided us with a much higher quality of life we now enjoy.
At the same time, there has been significant and sustained improvements to our living standards. Interestingly; there was a statement made by a prominent American entrepreneur in the fifties that now sounds completely absurd to the extreme. He said that society had reached a point in time where our knowledge was so advanced, that there would be no more inventions or innovations that could surpass what had already been achieved.
If it’s not broken, no need to fix it.
Notwithstanding nor minimising all of the incredible achievements of the 21st century, (especially over the last 50 years or so); there are many technological inventions that have stood the test of time. Need we say, sliced bread for example; toilet paper rolls; flip top lids on soft drink cans; the humble can opener; etc; etc; and of course; not forgetting the amazing window cleaners squeegee!
The Window Cleaning squeegee was invented by an Italian immigrant Ettore Steccone, a window washer, who invented the modern squeegee in 1936; and the squeegee has not needed any real refinements since then. Why; because like many other great inventions; it works; and is now used by window cleaners all around the world.
The enthusiastic novice window cleaner
When I embarked on my Window Cleaning journey in 1979; I first decided to try my hand at washing my own house windows. Without any prior knowledge or any expertise whatsoever, I started off with the bare essentials in relation to the materials
that I thought I might need to get started. This comprised a spray bottle of windex, a face washer, and a towelling cloth. After several attempts to achieve the nice streak free windows I was hoping for; I came to the disappointing conclusion that this was not the right one.
At that time, there was no immediate access to the internet, and so I had to resort to canvassing various recommendations from others, including my brother Tom. Tom offered me his advice on the best way to clean windows. He said all you needed was to soap up the window, wipe off the suds, and polish with newspaper; and this; (he said); would be quick; efficient and.
Others ideas and opinions
That seemed like a good idea at the time, however, this method left me with newsprint all over my hands, stacks of newspaper waste; and smudges all over the windows. I decided that Tom’s foolproof method was not going to generate a great amount of income for my family. There were a few others who also offered me their window cleaning formulas; however, those ideas were either outdated; inefficient; or just plain unworkable.
Check with the experts?
Finally I came to my senses; and so I thought I would call some professionals with the objective of finding out from them; what was their secret magic bullet for sparkling clean windows. Unfortunately; this bright idea did not produce the desired result either. These guys were not about to provide this valuable information to a potential new competitor. I was given the old heave ho through dodgy misinformation, and so again I was none the wiser.
Enter the squeegee!
It so happened that one day I was fortunate enough to catch an old guy cleaning some rather large shop front windows; and I was truly amazed at how fast and skilful he was. When I took a closer look at what he was using to clean the glass; it appeared that he was soaping up the window with a broom head on a pole. After Soaping up the window; he used a T bar with a rubber attached to it; and he was using that tool to wipe the suds off. To finish off, he used a towel to wipe away the excess soapy water that had accumulated at the bottom of the windows. A little later on I learned that the name of the tool he was using was called a squeegee; and so I promptly visited my local supermarket to see if they had one there. Needless to say, the supermarket variety of squeegee that I purchased, proved to be completely inadequate for professional and commercial
Cleaning supplies store
After a few attempts using the wrong materials to clean my windows at home; I finally wised up, and sourced out a cleaning supplies store. I stocked up with different sizes of professional quality squeegees; scrims cloths; the correct bucket; scrapers; steel wool; and the appropriate detergents.
Experience is the best teacher
Now that I was fully “tooled” up; I was rearing to go; and very excited that I was about to set up my own successful Window cleaning business. Notwithstanding my aspirations; and although I was fully equipped with the correct tools; (especially the squeegees); I had to learn the most efficient method in the correct use of the squeegee.
In addition; I needed to learn the correct use of ladders and how to deal with the many different shapes and sizes of windows. This proved to be a much longer process than I had anticipated. After the end of three long years; and learning through the process of trial and error; I was proud to make the claim that I had become a competent professional Window cleaner.
Moving forward; squeegee in hand
Since moving on from those challenging early days; I can honestly say that we owe a large part of our success in this Window Cleaning Business to the versatility and the functionality of this amazing gadget called – the window cleaning squeegee. It is highly unlikely this powerful little tool is about to be replaced or superseded by anything else in the foreseeable future.
Author: John McAuliffe