'Help!', poster promoting the British Vacuum Cleaning Company Ltd, 1906.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Artwork by John Hasall. This poster shows a maid running in alarm from a vacuum cleaner which extends in through the window. The British Vacuum Cleaning Company of Parson's Green Lane in London was founded in 1901 by Hubert Cecil Booth (1871-1955) to develop his new invention, the vacuum cleaner. His horse-drawn carriage carried a vacuum pump worked by one operative, while the other used the equipment within the house. After his equipment gained royal appointment in 1902, society hosteses would hold parties to watch his invention at work.