Sir Hiram Maxim's 'Little Giant' dust extractor, c 1910.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Two people would operate this mechanical vacuum cleaner. One person would guide the hose while the other would operate the suction pump by working the long handle back and forth. Dirt and dust was sucked into the canister where it was filtered through sawdust. Devised by the prolific inventor Sir Hiram Maxim (1840-1916) this was one of many similar cleaners that were introduced between 1905 and 1920.