How Hubert Cecil Booth Came Up With the Idea for a Vacuum Cleaner






The man who was said to have invented the motorized vacuum cleaner is Hubert Cecil Booth. Booth was a civil engineer who worked on the design of ferris wheels for amusement parks and large bridges and later on the design of engines for ships for the Royal Navy.

In 1901, Booth says he went to ‘a demonstration of an American machine by its inventor’ at London’s Empire Music Hall. It was there Booth observed a demonstration of a device for a compressed air engine which blew dust and it is from this idea that he came up with the premise that it would be a good idea for it to suck up dust instead.

To test this premise, he put a handkerchief on the seat of a chair in a restaurant, and from there he put his mouth on the handkerchief and proceeded to attempt to suck up as much dust as he possibly could into the handkerchief. He then observed how much dust he had proceeded to gather underneath the handkerchief and noted that in fact, this idea could be applied on a much larger scale with a device that could suck up dust powered by an engine.

To make this work, Booth came up with the idea of a large vacuum that was powered first by an oil engine, and the device was given the nickname ‘Puffing Billy’. After thorough testing, Booth’s invention was given Royal approval and was applied to be used in 1901 at Westminster Abbey to prepare the carpet for the coronation of Edward VII. Because of the success of the application of this new invention it gained notoriety and quickly became noticed by the general public.

Following that, the patents were issued for Booth’s vacuum cleaner later that year, and he then started the British Vacuum Cleaner Company and worked on the machine over the next twenty years. He modified it into a model called the ‘Goblin’ which eventually focused more on the industrial market making larger models that could be used to clean industrial premises. This was because Hoover had then monopolized the domestic vacuum cleaner market.

From that day, vacuum cleaners are now based on Booth’s model which he came up with in 1901 and continue to be made to this day in their various guises. Booth himself passed away in 1955, but his legacy lives on well into the 21st century when vacuum cleaners continue to evolve with time and technology.


Source by Christian Phillips