Original vacuum cleaner, from to Royal Naval College
Original vacuum cleaner, supplied to Royal Naval College, Osborne, c.1905
The British engineer Hubert Cecil Booth came up with the idea for the vacuum cleaner in 1901, after watching railway carriages being cleaned using compressed air to blow away dust and debris.
Booth's brainwave was to create a machine that sucked up dirt rather than blowing it away. His early machines were large and expensive, so at first he offered vacuum cleaning as a mobile service. Typically horse-drawn, the machines were parked outside houses and long hoses were fed through windows.
This one was made for the naval academy at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.