Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., June 20, 1965, Kingston, Jamaica



“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”


― Martin Luther King Jr.












PO Box 1781
S. Hackensack, New Jersey 07606

QUESTION: Who invented the street sweeper?

ANSWER : Charles Brooks of Newark, New Jersey. Patented on March 17, 1896


Charles Brooks designed the street sweeper and patented it on March 17, 1896. Prior to his invention, streets were cleaned manually by workers picking up trash by hand or sweeping it with brooms. Brooks' invention was made of a truck with a series of broom-like brushes attached which pushed trashed and debris off onto the side of the road.

An avid inventor, Charles Brooks is best known for his street sweeper invention. Living in Newark New Jersey, Brooks decided to create a sort of broom or sweeper and attach this device to a truck. Street sweeper Trucks became a lot like what you’re used to seeing today. His truck had revolving brushes attached to the front fender and the brushes were interchangeable with scrapers that could be used in winter for snow removal. If you could imagine the days where a man would manually have to sweep the streets with a long horizontal head broom, shovel and dustpan, one would quickly demise that this invention was not only a time saver but also extremely economical








OAKLAND, Calif. —

There is one sound that sends thousands of Bay Area drivers running to their cars: street sweepers. Every day, parking control officers in Oakland ticket drivers who've waited too long to move their cars for street cleaning.


In Oakland, street sweeping citations brought in almost $10 million last year and it made up 39 percent of all tickets issued.

Strange Street Sweeping  Facts NYC​


Did you know that New York City spends close to 16 million dollars each year cleaning close to 47,400 scheduled routes across 6,000 miles of road. That’s the equivalent of sweeping from New York City to Los Angeles and back, everyday.

MORE Strange Street Sweeping  Facts NYC​


May 20, 1903

Filmed on an unidentified street in New York City, probably Fifth Avenue. Rows of men wearing the white uniforms of New York City street sweepers (known as White Wings) march by the camera. Each row has a police escort. The parade of uniformed men continues until several hundred pass. Immediately following the marching men come approximately a hundred horse-drawn two-wheel carts of the kind used for hauling garbage [Frame: 3394]. One four wheeled cart is seen near the end of the film. In 1895, under the reform administration of Mayor William L. Strong, New York City's Department of Street Cleaning was headed by Colonel George Waring. It was he who garbed his workers in the white duck suits (earning them the name "White Wings") seen in the film. He is also recognized as a brilliant sanitary engineer who marshalled the two thousand man force to clean four hundred and fifty miles of streets each day. According to Jacob Riis, "his broom saved more lives in the crowded tenements than a squad of doctors." By 1903, the date of the filming, a new city administration was in power and Waring had been replaced.


From a contemporary Edison film company catalog: WHITE WINGS ON REVIEW. A fine picture of the celebrated "White Wings" or street- cleaning department of one district of Greater New York, showing over 350 men in line, and over 100 carts that are used to carry the refuse away to the dumping wharf, marching through the streets of New York.


(Video courtesy of Thomas A. Edison, Inc./Library of Congress/Tehrkot Media)

SPECIAL REPORT: Street-sweeper trucks with cameras could help law enforcement​