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Please can someone advise? My longish title kind of says what I recall the most of the story... I think it was in anthology from the 50's or 60's.

It's a story about a device that someone found that removes dust and dirt from wherever it's placed. The guy who finds it shares the secret with a friend and they take it apart or somehow figure out how to replicate it with the intent of selling the objects.

One of the guys wonders where the dust and dirt go, and the other says not to worry about it.

They make a killing on the market and the cleaners sell like hotcakes... until one day the phones start ringing off the wall. Seems the original (unknown) designers didn't like all that dust and dirt flowing to their world, so they found a way to reverse the flow.

I really want to find the story again so I can recall how it ended :P

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"Dusty Zebra" by Clifford D. Simak. First published in Galaxy Science Fiction, September 1954, which is available at the Internet Archive; reprinted a number of times. Any of these covers look familiar?

t's a story about a device that someone found that removes dust and dirt from wherever it's placed.

He got it by trading stuff with someone in another dimension. He tests it:

The living room was spotless from Bill just having walked through it, carrying the gadget, and the garage, where he had taken it momentarily, was spic and span. While we didn't check it, I imagine that an area paralleling the path he had taken from the front door to the garage was the only place outdoors that didn't have a speck of dust upon it.

The guy who finds it shares the secret with a friend and they take it apart or somehow figure out how to replicate it with the intent of selling the objects.

No, they open one up, but they can't replicate it:

He had taken one of the dust collectors apart and the only thing he could find out about it was that there was some feeble force-field operating inside of it—feeble yet strong enough to play hell with the electrical circuits and fancy metering machinery he has at the lab. As soon as he found out what was happening, he slapped the cover back on as quick as he could and then everything was all right. The cover was a shield against the force-field.

Instead, they get a supply of the dust collectors from the interdimensional Trader, in exchange for "zebras":

It took ten days to get that shipment of fifty thousand zebras and I sweated out every minute of it. Then there was the job of getting them under cover when it came and, in case you don't know, fifty thousand zebras, even when they're only bracelet charms, take up room.

But first I took out twenty-five hundred and sent them through the desk.

One of the guys wonders where the dust and dirt go, and the other says not to worry about it.

"You know, Joe, I've been doing a lot of worrying."

"We haven't a thing to worry about now," I said, "except getting these things sold."

"But the dust must go somewhere," he fretted.

"The dust?"

"Sure, the dust these things collect. Remember we picked up an entire pile of cement dust? What I want to know is where it all went. The gadget itself isn't big enough to hold it. It isn't big enough to hold even a week's collection of dust from the average house. That's what worries me—where does it go?"

"I don't care where. It goes, doesn't it?"

They make a killing on the market and the cleaners sell like hotcakes...

But in a couple of months' time, things were running pretty smoothly. We had the state well covered and were branching out into others. I had ordered another fifty thousand zebras and told them to expect re-orders—and the desk top was a busy place. It got to a point, finally, where I had to hire three men full time, paying them plenty not to talk, to man that desk top twenty-four hours a day. We'd send through zebras for eight hours, then take away dust collectors for eight hours, then feed through zebras for another eight.

until one day the phones start ringing off the wall. Seems the original (unknown) designers didn't like all that dust and dirt flowing to their world, so they found a way to reverse the flow.

"It's the creatures from the third dimension," he said anxiously. "The place where we were sending all the dust. They got sick and tired of having it pour in on them and they got it figured out and now they're firing the dust right back at us."

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    Now I want to know how it ends too... – Kyle Jul 4 '16 at 8:23
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    "It's the creatures from the third dimension,". And here I always assumed we are creatures from the third dimension. – Josef Jul 4 '16 at 9:58
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    @Josef - things were much flatter back in 1954. They hadn't figured out this mysterious third dimension yet. Proof? Proof? You want proof? Okay, look at the photos from the era: you'll notice that every single one of them is two dimensional. – Simba Jul 4 '16 at 15:13
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    @Kyle I suppose you noticed that my answer included links to an Archive scan, so you can read the ending for free at the risk of eyestrain. – user14111 Jul 4 '16 at 23:02
  • @Josef As I understand it, they aren't using "dimension" in any mathematical sense, they are using it in the science-fictional sense, "dimension" = "parallel world". There seem to be three parallel worlds in the story: our dimension; another dimension, where the Trader lives, who is sending dust collectors in exchange for plastic zebras; and the "third dimension" where all the dust was going, until they started sending it back. – user14111 Jul 4 '16 at 23:12

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