The original vacuum cleaner, 1901.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The invention of the vacuum cleaner is generally credited to Hubert Cecil Booth (1871-1955), an engineer. Booth experimented using a handkerchief placed over his mouth to suck-up dust and then turned this idea into a filter. He offered carpet- cleaning services from a large horse-drawn vehicle which he parked in the street. Cylinder vacuum cleaners still use this basic principle.