On this day in history : 30th August 1901 – Scottish inventor Hubert Cecil Booth patents the vacuum cleaner…. The first model, “Puffing Billy”, was a large, horse-drawn contraption….
Before Booth introduced his version previous cleaning machines had worked on the principle of blowing or brushing dirt away…. Puffing Billy used suction….
The first machine was made for Osborne House on the Isle of Wight – which was then used as a naval officers training college…. The huge piece of apparatus measured 4’6″ x 4’10” x 3’6″ and had to be parked outside the building with its hoses having to be fed through the windows…. A five horsepower piston oil engine was used to drive a large suction pump….
Booth founded ‘The Vacuum Cleaner Company Ltd’ to manufacture his cleaner, its head office being in Fulham, South West London…. To market the machine a team of men in white suits toured the streets…. To demonstrate to a potential customer dirt would be thrown on to their carpet, a hose from the big red beast parked outside reeled in and the petrol motor would be started…. The dirt would then be sucked into a container attached to the hose…. But a deep clean could not be expected, it typically only collected surface dirt….and the machine was also incredibly expensive, costing approximately £350….