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In 1901 a London-based engineer named Hubert Booth saw a new American device for extracting dust from the upholstery of railway carriages.
It used compressed air to blast the dust out, which was all very well, except the dust settled straight back on the furniture again.
Electrocardiogram [1903, Willem Einthoven] It had been known since the 17th century that muscular tissue would conduct electricity, and by the late 19th century, physiologists had investigated the possibility that the human body and heart, too, had electrical potential.
Then, in 1895, a brilliant young Dutch physiologist, Willem Einthoven, used a crude electrical sensing apparatus to establish that the beating heart produced four distinct signals, each one corresponding to a different ventricle.
I became determined to come up with a vacuum cleaner with a performance that did not stand or fall by the properties of a paper bag.
Inspired by a paint-spraying device I had seen at our Ballbarrow factory, I focused on using centrifugal force to spin dust out of the air.
Two years later, he introduced an electric-powered machine weighing around 40 kg.
A few tweaks were added to the design: Electrolux introduced the cylinder model with a hose in 1913, followed 23 years later by a Hoover with beater-brushes.
But that was pretty much it until 1978, when I found I'd run out of vacuum bags at home.
After discovering radio waves in 1888, the German scientist Heinrich Hertz proved they could be bounced off things.
In 1904, the German engineer Christian Hülsmeyer turned this into a patent for a collision warning system for shipping, the first radar system.