Google on Wednesday put up a doodle on the occasion of the 147th birth anniversary of British engineer Hubert Cecil Booth, inventor of the vacuum cleaner.
The advanced floor-cleaning technology in 1901 involved blowing air and pushing debris. But Booth was captivated by the idea of doing the exact opposite – cleaning by suction. Inspired by the results of his experiments, he began working on his first design – nicknamed “Puffing Billy” – which was powered by an engine that had to be pulled around by horses and parked outside the house to be cleaned.
Booth initially did not attempt to sell his machine. Instead, he sold cleaning services. He founded the British Vacuum Cleaner Company in 1903. The vacuum cleaner arrived in a bright red van and was operated by experts wearing the company’s uniforms. It was soon embraced by elite households and even the British royal family. The Royal Navy used the services of Booth’s company to improve the level of sanitation in the naval barracks.
Booth was a multi-talented man who also built bridges, designed engines for Royal Navy battleships, and ferris wheels in England, France, and Austria.