Hauksbee's air pump, c 1709.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Francis Hauksbee (1666-1713) was an English physicist and scientific instrument maker. He first demonstrated his pump at a meeting of the Royal Society in December 1703, and was soon appointed to be their official demonstrator at meetings. Air pumps, now known as vacuum pumps, are devices used for extracting air from a vesel, producing a partial vacuum. Hauksbee improved on the earlier air pumps invented by Robert Hooke (1635-1703) and Robert Boyle (1627-1691).