The Boyle-Hooke vacuum pump, 1659.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A modern (1960) reconstruction of the vacuum pump (air pump) built by Robert Hooke (1635-1703) for Robert Boyle (1627-1691) in 1659. This was the first British vacuum pump and was an improvement on Otto von Guericke's (1602-1686) original vacuum pump from around 1647. Boyle used the pump extensively in his early work, making discoveries such as that sound does not travel in a vacuum and that air is necesary to sustain a candle flame.