Google Doodle celebrates Huber Cecil Booth, inventor of vacuum cleaner

Vacuum cleaner has made cleaning an easier process but Huber Cecil Booth didn’t have it easy inventing it

Google is celebrating British engineer Huber Cecil Booth — inventor of the vacuum cleaner — with a doodle on his 147th birthday.

The video of today’s Goodle Doodle depicts the demonstration of how a vacuum cleaner is used to clean a house. The power for the cleaning process is represented through a machine parked outside the house with a horse to pull it around.

Vacuum cleaner has made cleaning an easier process but Booth didn’t have it easy inventing it.

In the beginning, the cleaning process involved more of blowing the dirt out the place. Booth wasn’t happy with it. After he saw a demonstration of a “pneumatic carpet renovator” blowing dirt out of railway cars, Booth wanted to experiment with better ways of cleaning. He never liked the idea of blowing air and pushing the debris out of sight. As part of his initial experiment, Booth laid his handkerchief on a restaurant chair, put his mouth on the table cloth and sucked air through it.

Happy with the result he went to design the first vacuum cleaner — nicknamed “Puffing Billy” — in 1901. But it was powered by a huge engine and had to be pulled around by horses and parked outside the house to be cleaned. This kind of vacuum cleaners were used to clean the carpets of Westminster Abbey, prior to Edward VII’s coronation in 1901. Theatres and shops and even the Royal Navy started using it.

Google Doodle — Hubert Cecil Booth’s 147th Birthday.

Google Doodle — Hubert Cecil Booth’s 147th Birthday.
| Photo Credit: Google Doodle


To make it feasible as a domestic appliance Booth went on to improve his ideas and started the British Vacuum Cleaner Company in 1903. He simplified his unit into a smaller electric device that would arrive in a bright red van and operated by experts. And since then vacuum cleaners have been embraced by households.

"Though it was a far cry from the upright and handheld vacuums we use today, Booth’s invention forever changed the way we clean our homes—and made sweeping dirt under the rug a thing of the past," Google wrote in a blogpost on today’s doodle, which is visible in over a dozen countries including India and the United Kingdom

Booth, a man of many talents, didn’t stop there. He went on to build bridges, design engines for Royal Navy battleships, and ferris wheels in England, France, and Austria. But he is best known for the now hand-held vacuums cleaners that have changed the way we clean our homes.

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