Plaque commemorating Booth's 'Puffing Billy' vacuum cleaner, 1901. Hubert Cecil Booth invented the 'Puffing Billy' vacuum cleaner in 1901, it was the first succesful vacuum cleaner. He experimented with sucking air, his new machine was more succesful than other similar inventions due to an effective source of power. 'Puffing Billy', had a 5 hp piston pump driven by a petrol/gasoline engine or electric motor. There were no brushes; dust was extracted entirely by the powerful suction through nozzles at the ends of long flexible tubes.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library