Booth's original Red Trolley British Vacuum Cleaner, 1905.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The invention of the vacuum cleaner is generally credited to Hubert Cecil Booth. He built his first machine in 1901 and this one is very similar. It was made for Osborne House, a training college for naval officers on the Isle of Wight. The machine was parked outside and the hoses were fed through the windows. It was originally powered by an oil engine, the electric motor was added later.