Maid vacuum cleaning a carpet while a manservant looks on, 1911.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from a product catalogue published by the British Vacuum Cleaner Company Ltd, London, in 1911. The Vacuum Cleaner Company, later expanded and known as the British Vacuum Cleaner Company, was founded in 1900 by Henry Cecil Booth (1871-1955), the inventor of the vacuum cleaner. By 1911, the company claimed to have 20,000 customers on their books. Portable vacuum cleaners, like the one shown, ran on rubber tyred castors and were connected to the mains electricity supply through an adaptor plugged into a light fitting.