Today’s Google Doodle is dedicated to Hubert Cecil Booth, who is he inventor of the vacuum cleaner and the founder of the British Vacuum Cleaner and Engineering Co. The Doodle remembers him on what would have been his 147th birthday.
Hubert Cecil Booth was interested in engineering and went to pursue civil and mechanical engineering from Central Technical College in London. While cleaning machines existed before vacuum cleaners, they were essentially blowers that simply blew and brushed the dirt away. Booth noticed them to make things messier than helpful. That gave Booth an idea to design a cleaner that sucked all the dirt inside, thereby inventing the first vacuum cleaner.
Hubert’s first vacuum cleaner was petrol powered. It was also quite bulky and had to be driven around on a horse cart. It was nicknamed the Puffing Billy. It did not contain any brushes, but all the cleaning was done with the help of suction through long tubes with nozzles on the ends. While not the most efficient, the design did help set a foundation for today’s vacuum cleaners. Booth followed up with an electric vacuum cleaner. However, that was also too bulky to enter a building.
Booth later went on to start the British Vacuum Cleaner Company (BVCC), which rather than offering vacuum cleaners, offered cleaning services. The company services consisted of bright red vans with uniformed operators who would haul hose off the van and route it through the windows of a building to reach all the rooms inside.
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Over the years Booth did not stop innovating on the vacuum cleaner design. Booth also founded Goblin, a company which focused on the industrial market, with building ever-larger models for factories and warehouses. The company lives on today as a unit of pneumatic tube system maker Quirepace Ltd.