WHEN houseproud Mary Ruth paid five shillings (25p) for a carpet sweeper in 1956 little did she realise it would be the bargain of her life.
For the gadget has stood the test of time and kept the pensioner's home in Hodder Street, Accrington, spick and span for half a century.
And when it finally broke this year, manufacturers Ewbank, who founded the company on Hyndburn Road, Accrington, gave Mary a generous 90th birthday gift by repairing it for free.
Mary was so impressed with the carpet sweeper over the years she was left devastated when the machine broke
But her youngest daughter Frances came to the rescue.
She had read an article in the Observer about the 125th anniversary of Accrington businessman Richard Kenyon forming Ewbank.
She got in touch with bosses to see if they could save her mum's prized possession.
And the firm, which has now relocated to Burnley, rushed to install a new set of wheels on the device and delivered it back to Mary's door.
Mary said she was delighted to see its return.
She said: "It really is my little pal and I am so grateful to Ewbank for bringing it back to me as good as new - although those new products look good too."
Frances said: "My eldest sister, Norma, and I used to play with it when we were younger.
"I remember using it like a hobby horse, but I suppose we were helping with the chores at the same time without even realising."
Ewbank's longest-serving employee Bill Faulkner was on hand to return the repaired sweeper.
He said: "I was really happy to see the expression on Mary's face as I handed the Ewbank over.
"She asked me how much the repairs would cost her and I told her that one was on me."
Ewbank's managing director Colin Webber said: "It is warming to hear stories like those of Mrs Ruth, whose children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren see the Ewbank as a familiar part of their family life. "