Vacuum cleaner

Vacuuming with horse and cart

Hubert Cecil Booth (Gloucester, July 4, 1871 – Purley, Surrey, January 18, 1955)

Young engineer Hubert Cecil Booth had spent several years tinkering with engines for Royal Navy warships and taking on the Prater Ferris wheel in Vienna when he received a strange invitation in 1900.

An American inventor demonstrated a revolutionary method of cleaning carpets with compressed air in a London concert hall. The man forced air through the mouthpiece of a tube into the carpet.

He collected the dust and dirt that emerged in a container. The process could not prevent the spectators from being enveloped in thick clouds of dust.

On the spot, Booth came up with the idea that it would be more sensible to vacuum up the dust, rather than blow it away. His first experiment was of a singular simplicity. He lay down on his stomach on the floor at home, tied a handkerchief over his mouth and sucked in the air vigorously.

And yes, the handkerchief looked very dingy. A few days later he did this again for three of his friends in a restaurant in Westminster.

He held a handkerchief against the upholstery of the back of his chair and sucked. To the delight of those present, he nearly choked in the dust. His handkerchief was so dirty that one of his comrades promptly offered to invest in the machine Booth envisioned.

At that time, doctors were well aware of the connection between diseases and poor sanitary conditions. Previously, dozens of inventors had developed devices to combat the dust, including by suction.

Booth achieved success because he was the first to use an engine with a gasoline mixture as a solid power source. The engine, which he named after an early steam locomotive Puffing Billy, was rated at five horsepower.

Some explain his breakthrough as a better solution to the filter problem, which thoroughly separated dust and air. So that the dust did not end up in the pump that had to provide the vacuum. Anyway, Booth got a patent on his machine in 1901.

In the first years, the vacuum cleaner did not resemble a device of today. The motorcycle was in a closed carriage pulled by a horse. On top of the car was a hatch from which four hoses, each 25 meters long, departed.

You could then work with such a hose in a house or in rooms on floors. All Londoners wanted to experience the event themselves.

So that the vacuum cleaner disrupted public life and the police had to intervene on a daily basis. In addition, the early gasoline engine made such a hell of a noise that the horses of rental carriages became skittish or stampeded. Coachmen also filed a complaint against Booth's new firm.

Almost every day he received summonses and had to pay hefty fines.

Only the king could save him. Queen Victoria had just died and her son Edward VII took office in London with all kinds of ceremonies. Booth offered to use his machine to clean Westminster Abbey's renowned blue carpet.

The success was so great that the king and queen wanted to see the machine. During a demonstration at Buckingham Palace, the new queen Alexandra took the tube in person. She even moved the mouthpiece on the floor for a moment.

The Court immediately bought two aircraft: one for Buckingham and one for Windsor. It goes without saying that other European monarchs also became interested. The London elite followed in the footsteps of the Court.

Chic ladies in the posh neighborhood of Mayfair invited their acquaintances to attend the vacuuming party over a cup of tea. The clever Booth had glass spacers placed in the tubes, so that everyone could see the dust flying nicely.

After a few years, the engineer gave up. He left the management of his company to others and devoted the rest of his life to building bridges.

In 1906 his company launched the first household vacuum cleaner, the 'Trolley Vac', which still weighs fifty kilograms.

Called on his merits as the inventor of the vacuum cleaner, Booth would later reply, "It was nothing more than a stroke of luck." In 1955, when he was 84, a science journalist wrote: "The caps are removed with reverence and his tall, silver-haired figure is kindly saluted on the visits he often pays to the factory." That same year he passed away.

His company still exists. It makes vacuum cleaners for industrial purposes.

The bagless vacuum cleaner from dyson

A classic vacuum cleaner sucks up the dust with a motor that makes an impeller or paddle wheel rotate at approximately 25,000 revolutions per minute.

The operation can be compared to that of a fan: on the one hand, the rapidly rotating impeller sucks in air, on the other hand it blows it away. The dust that is sucked in ends up in a dust bag that sits in front of the screw.

The bag allows air to pass through, but keeps the dirt out. Usually there is a filter behind the dust bag to collect the last dust.

The bagless vacuum cleaner makes the sucked air spin much faster. Due to the enormous centrifugal force, even the finest dust from the air is flung to the outside of the air stream, where it falls into a dust container.

As a result, the device does not lose suction power when it becomes full, the type with the dust bag does.

Sir James Dyson, who invented and made the bagless vacuum cleaner world famous, is from Norfolk in Northern England. From 1966 to 1970 he studied Furniture Interior Design at the Royal College of Art in London.

One of his early designs was the Ballbarrow, a wheelbarrow with a spherical wheel.

When using a paint sprayer for the Ballbarrow, Dyson noticed in 1978 that the air filter was constantly clogging. He developed a system that filters particles from the air using centrifugal forces. And afterwards he tried to apply that idea to a vacuum cleaner.

According to another version, Dyson, always looking for a solution from an unexpected source, saw a nine-metre-tall cone pull dust from the air by pure centrifugal force in a sawmill near his new home.

He thought that a vacuum cleaner that could remove dust from the air like a cyclone, a whirlwind, would no longer need a dust bag and no filter. Dyson: 'A Formula I driver can endure up to 5G (five times the force of gravity) in a corner, a driver 10G before losing consciousness.

In my vacuum cleaner, the forces run up to 200,000G.'

Five years and 5127 prototypes later, the first bagless vacuum cleaner was a fact. From 1982 to 1984 he scoured Europe in search of companies, including Philips, that wanted to market his product. Due to high patent costs, he almost went bankrupt.

Until he was heard in Japan, where a company marketed the device with great success under the name G Force.

With the income from the Japan license, he was finally able to set up a factory in Great Britain in 1993. First one in Chippenham, later one in Malmesbury, both in Wiltshire in the south of England. Over the years, Dyson has received many awards, often in the field of design.

He received at least five honorary doctorates, one from the University of Staffordshire in the Arts. Because of eloquence?

He became the British symbol of the young, eccentric, innovative, modern inventor. A star. When he turned fifty he wrote his autobiography. The British Queen knighted him and she even visited his factory in Malmesbury in 2001.

The shock was therefore great when he moved the production from Malmesbury, with its 800 employees, to Malaysia in 2002.

Consumer magazines rate the Dyson vacuum cleaner cooler than consumers: too expensive, too much noise, little dust removal, low dust emissions, but that is due to a good and expensive filter, according to the verdict. Dyson is a designer by nature, his vacuum cleaner is especially heavily designed.

Transparency is part of that. Dyson: 'Then people will see the effect of vacuuming.' Hubert Cecil Booth had already thought of this a hundred years earlier with the glass spacers in his tubes.