Google has honored Hubert Cecil Booth, the inventor of the modern vacuum cleaner, with his very own Google Doodle on what would have been his 147th birthday.
Booth’s invention over a century ago contributed greatly to improving hygienic healthcare and keeping homes and businesses clean, making him one of the UK’s most prominent inventors of the 20th century.
But just who was Hubert Cecil Booth? Here’s all you need to know about who he was, why he invented the modern vacuum cleaner, where the first vacuum was invented, what the first vacuum cleaner was and what a Google Doodle is.
Google’s latest Google Doodle has just honored vacuum cleaner inventor Hubert Cecil Booth
Who was Hubert Cecil Booth?
Hubert Cecil Booth was an engineer and inventor known for inventing the first modern vacuum cleaner.
He was born on July 4, 1871 in Gloucester, England.
After studying at the Institution of Civil Engineers, he started his career as a civil engineer, notably designing bridges and Ferris wheels in London, Paris, Vienna and other cities throughout Europe. He also found work designing engines for Royal Navy warships.
In 1901, he invented the first modern vacuum cleaner after watching a demonstration for a device designed to blow dust away, believing that if the device’s system could be reversed, the dust could be sucked up entirely. He soon patented his device and sold his services in the UK, even earning commissions from the Royal Family and the Royal Navy.
Though he passed away on January 14, 1955 in London, his simple yet effective invention still sees widespread use throughout the world today.
Why did Hubert Cecil Booth make the vacuum cleaner?
Booth was inspired to make the first modern vacuum cleaner after observing a demonstration by American inventor John S. Thurman in London, who showcased his new invention: a machine designed to blow dust off of chairs and other home furniture.
Booth reasoned that if the mechanical process of the machine could be reversed and the dust sucked into it rather than blow away, it could be an efficient way to remove dust from homes, businesses and other locations.
He created a new machine that did just that in 1901, nicknamed the Puffing Billy. He soon coined the term ‘vacuum cleaner’ and went out selling its services, rather than the product itself initially. After receiving patents for his device, his company went about cleaning homes, though it was often criticized for being loud and disruptive.
However, it was later used to clean Westminster Abbey before the coronation of Edward VII and also by the Royal Navy for sanitation purposes, giving it credence among the British people.
Where was the first vacuum cleaner invented?
The first modern vacuum cleaner called the Puffing Billy was invented in England by Hubert Cecil Booth in 1901. However, a number of similar devices were produced earlier, notably in West Union, Iowa by Daniel Hess in 1860 and in Chicago by Ives W. McGaffey.
What was the first vacuum cleaner?
Although Booth invented one of the first modern vacuum cleaners, his idea was preceded decades earlier by other notable inventions.
In 1860, Daniel Hess of Iowa invented a carpet sweeper that gathered dust in homes via a bellows to generate suction and a rotating brush to clean it up. In 1868, another early vacuum cleaner called the Whirlwind was invented in Chicago by Ives W. McGaffey while a similar product was introduced in 1876 by Melville Bissell of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Booth’s modern vacuum cleaner was invented back in 1901 while American inventor David T. Kenney introduced a similar invention independently that same year.
What is a Google Doodle?
Google Doodles are temporary changes to Google’s homepage that celebrate everything from people to special events to achievements and more.
The first-ever Google Doodle was introduced back in 1998 to commemorate the Burning Man festival. Though initially designed by Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, they were later developed by outside contractors before a special team known as Doodlers was created by Google to produce them on a more consistent basis over time.
Nowadays, Google Doodles are often used to celebrate major holidays like Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day, though they’ve also commonly been created to mark events like the 2018 World Cup and to celebrate the lives of notable people like Brazilian artist Athos Bulcão.