Posted on 24/11/2014

Ford Model T, Man-Powered Airplane Flight and Vacuum Cleaner

The 1900s gave us a number of inventions which had profound effects on how we travelled as well as how we cleaned! Read more about the 1900s, as part of our celebration of our 150th anniversary.

Ford Model T

Also known as the Tin Lizzie, the Ford Model T was produced by Henry Ford’s motor company.  It is possibly one of the most recognisable original motor vehicles, and is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile.  The Ford Model T opened up travel to middle-class Americans.  Production time was reduced significantly by the introduction of assembly line production, instead of each automobile being individually hand-crafted.

First Successful Man-Powered Airplane Flight

On 17th December 1903, the Wright brothers were credited with inventing and building the world’s first successful plane that could be powered by a human.  Although the Wright brothers were not the first to build and fly an experimental aircraft, they were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed wing powered flight possible.

The Wright brothers invention of three-axis control was a worldwide breakthrough, enabling the pilot to steer the aircraft effectively.  This method still remains the standard for fixed-winged aircrafts to this day.

The World’s First Vacuum Cleaner

In 1901 the first ever motorised vacuum cleaner was invented by Hubert Cecil Booth of England.  Booth’s inspiration for his invention came from watching another inventor demonstrating a device that could blow dust from chairs.  He set out to reverse the process so the dust would be retained.

Booth’s first prototype was a large petrol powered device.  This device proved that Booth’s theory was right – using a cloth filter and a source of power, the dust could be sucked up into the machine and retained.

Booth did not initially attempt to sell his machine.  Instead he created the British Vacuum Cleaner Service, and sold cleaning services.

Although his model lost out to competition from Hoover in the household vacuum market, his company successfully operated in the industrial market, building larger models for factories and warehouses.

Wilson Gunn