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Thread Number: 14754
As Requested, The Kirby Heritage G Prototype "Prometheus"
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Post# 156396   10/22/2011 at 12:18 (2,015 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

Here he is folks, I welcome any and all comments.

Post# 156397 , Reply# 1   10/22/2011 at 12:19 (2,015 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

Post# 156398 , Reply# 2   10/22/2011 at 12:20 (2,015 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

Post# 156399 , Reply# 3   10/22/2011 at 12:21 (2,015 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

Post# 156401 , Reply# 4   10/22/2011 at 12:22 (2,015 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

Post# 156402 , Reply# 5   10/22/2011 at 12:22 (2,015 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

Post# 156404 , Reply# 6   10/22/2011 at 12:23 (2,015 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

Post# 156405 , Reply# 7   10/22/2011 at 12:24 (2,015 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture

I used to love building these test mules when I worked at Electrolux and love seeing other ones too


How on earth did you manage to get it ?

Post# 156415 , Reply# 8   10/22/2011 at 12:50 (2,015 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

A friend of mine has a vacuum shop at an undisclosed location somewhere in Indiana, sorry I don't want the Kirby people knocking on anyone's door, they're actually pretty notorious for that. A woman came in one day with two of them and traded them for a Simplicity 7 series. She said she pulled them out of a dumpster behind the Kirby factory in Cleveland.

Post# 156419 , Reply# 9   10/22/2011 at 13:22 (2,015 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Cool, it's a "Generation One"... :P

That is pretty neat, well, the fact that it's still in one piece, I quite like it's more rounded appearance, and the side trim looks more appealing than the straight things they used on the G3 onwards, shame they had to do the 80's thing and make everything all hard, straight lines when they finally released the Generation3...

Post# 156422 , Reply# 10   10/22/2011 at 13:55 (2,015 days old) by Jakesvacs (England!)        

Haha! I love it, the styling looks so cool!

Post# 156445 , Reply# 11   10/22/2011 at 17:16 (2,015 days old) by Brandon_W_T (Omaha NE- Das Auto)        

brandon_w_t's profile picture
Thats an incredibly unique piece of history you have there.

DONT LET IT GO! (unless you want to make some serious $$$ selling lol)

Does anyone else notice that you can see the rotor?
I dont think you can on G series machines.

Post# 156453 , Reply# 12   10/22/2011 at 17:23 (2,015 days old) by Sablekid ()        

Strange indeed. Kinda like it, definetely one of a kind!

Post# 156462 , Reply# 13   10/22/2011 at 17:42 (2,015 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

Brandon put it best, that is a piece of history!

This is just plain awesome...I wonder how many are in existance?

Does it run?

Post# 156463 , Reply# 14   10/22/2011 at 17:44 (2,015 days old) by LongLiveKirbys (Plymouth, MN)        

longlivekirbys's profile picture

Post# 156476 , Reply# 15   10/22/2011 at 19:11 (2,015 days old) by KirbyLover ()        

Very cool! Is there any sticker on the bottom of the vac?

Post# 156486 , Reply# 16   10/22/2011 at 21:08 (2,015 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

I thought you guys would like it. To my knowledge there were less than half a dozen of this particular prototype built, but that's just the rumor I heard from the guy I got it from. I also know that one has been scrapped for the Aluminum. There is no sticker on the bottom and no place to put a sticker. The only thing on the bottom is an hour meter and a gauge to measure how many passes you've made. It works perfectly and actually cleans very well, at least as good as any Kirby Generation. When I took the pictures I also took a picture of the bottom but I couldn't get my point and shoot to focus so I took it with my Blackberry, now I can't get my Blackberry to sync so I have e-mailed it to myself from my Blackberry and it is taking forever to receive the e-mail. As soon as I get the e-mail from myself, I will post the pic of the bottom.

Post# 156491 , Reply# 17   10/22/2011 at 21:29 (2,015 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

Ok so maybe the picture I took was just of the gauges.

Post# 156514 , Reply# 18   10/23/2011 at 00:44 (2,015 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

Now all it needs is a super spa day to get those scuffs out and get that aluminum shining like a mirror!

Also, how many amps does it draw? Even though there are no stickers on the bottom, there are other ways of finding it out.

And does it use a Heritage style brushroll or Generation style brushroll? Is it compatible with any attachments?

Post# 156524 , Reply# 19   10/23/2011 at 06:24 (2,014 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

That's why it took so long to get pictures, because it's at my friends shop to be polished. I do scrubbing, etc, but I don't have the means to buff or polish so I made sure it will be done properly. As for attachments, it uses the dog leg hose and attachments like a G3 etc. It has in it a Generation brush roll complete with the 1-2-3 end caps. IDK about the motor draw, but it sounds and acts just like a G3.

Post# 156525 , Reply# 20   10/23/2011 at 06:35 (2,014 days old) by CRAIG_1982 (Newcastle Under Lyme (England))        

craig_1982's profile picture
Very nice, I like it a lot. Do you know if it originally had a head light on it and for some reason it was removed? or is this how Kirby intended this prototype to be?

Post# 156526 , Reply# 21   10/23/2011 at 07:13 (2,014 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture

What I can't believe is that they just threw it into a dumpster behind the factory, prototype coat a fortune to make and represent considrible  design investment. these machines are either destroyed internally or kept locked up as they have the company's design secrets in them even if a particular feature never made it into production. at some of the company's worked at they have prototypes dating back to the 50's . even when I have done consulting work for a few I have been allowed  to keep some of the early prototypes but under the condition that I do not dupm them or show post pics of them.


I have actually asked to be able  to post some pics of the more wild conceptual test mules as most are between 5-10 years old. I would love to show them to you guys. I hope they say yes 

Post# 156531 , Reply# 22   10/23/2011 at 08:16 (2,014 days old) by kirbymodel2c (Nottingham, England)        

kirbymodel2c's profile picture
Wow a very rare Kirby there. I like it:o)
I wonder what other proto types have been and gone??


Post# 156535 , Reply# 23   10/23/2011 at 08:48 (2,014 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

If you look at the first picture, there is a specially made plastic piece that snaps in the void where the hood would be. To me, that speaks to there never being a headlight at all. Another rumor I've also heard is that near production prototype Kirby's are often given to top execs to take home and use in a real world environment as a means to try to sort out any issues that can't be discovered in the test lab. But again, everything I say about it's origin is rumor and/or speculation that I heard from the guy I got it from, so I can't attest to any of it, but most of it does seem to make sense.

Post# 156536 , Reply# 24   10/23/2011 at 08:51 (2,014 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture

The part about home trial is true , every company I've worked for does them , its important. testing in a lab can only tell you so much. I still do home trials for one company although its more evaluating existing  products for our market now than actual designing work . 

Post# 156538 , Reply# 25   10/23/2011 at 08:58 (2,014 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

How fast do new products get to South Africa after they are released in America or Japan?

Post# 156545 , Reply# 26   10/23/2011 at 09:11 (2,014 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture

Will it depend on what it is 


cell phones we were light years ahead of you guys but now your catching up still we tend to get new models a few months before you guys , cars we get hyundia's and toyota's a few onths before you guys aswel.


vacuums is another story some times a few months other times exacly the same time. last year I was testing one of only a handfull of prototypes of a new vacuum destined for release under differant brand names for the same company, Good vacuum. surprisingly as it was designed in the states we got it at the same time you guys did.


I am busy with another model now that you guys already have had for a few months, just evaluating it for our unique conditions . 

Our market is much smaller here so not every model makes it to us , IE dyson only has 4 models in there SA range at the moment 

Post# 156548 , Reply# 27   10/23/2011 at 09:13 (2,014 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

You wouldn't be testing the new Dyson dc41 would you? How is it?

Post# 156554 , Reply# 28   10/23/2011 at 09:21 (2,014 days old) by Oreck_XL (Brooklyn, New York 11211)        
Kirby Prometheus

oreck_xl's profile picture
That is a fascinating machine indeed! First time I've ever seen a Kirby prototype. Does the Tech Drive work in the same manner as the Generation 3? Were it mine I would definitely buff the aluminum.

- Hershel

Post# 156555 , Reply# 29   10/23/2011 at 09:26 (2,014 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

Actually, it's in to be buffed right now. The Tech Drive works perfectly, though if you notice the switch is one piece where most Generation models it is a two piece switch. The owner offered me a serious trade proposition for it and I'm considering it. He offered me a Filter Queen Majestic, Tristar Compact, Kirby Ultimate G Diamond Edition, Fantom Fury, and $100 in store credit for parts, etc. He says he wants to hang it on the wall next to his Cordless Vacuette and Tradition Golden Trophy. What do you guys think?

Post# 156556 , Reply# 30   10/23/2011 at 09:29 (2,014 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture

No its not the dc41  , I do it for another well known brand , although its called by different names around the world :)

Post# 156557 , Reply# 31   10/23/2011 at 09:31 (2,014 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture

KEEP IT when will you ever have another prototype Kirby , its worth more than what he is giving you to be honest and you can always get any of hose machines at any other time in your life but never again one of these

Post# 156563 , Reply# 32   10/23/2011 at 10:11 (2,014 days old) by twocvbloke ()        
"What do you guys think?"

I'd say put it into a safety deposit box in a bank (assuming they do one's big enough!!!), that thing is worth a lot more than what a Kirby salesman asks outright when trying to sell a brand new Sentria!!! Especially if serious collectors clap their eyes on it...

Post# 156564 , Reply# 33   10/23/2011 at 10:14 (2,014 days old) by Brandon_W_T (Omaha NE- Das Auto)        

brandon_w_t's profile picture
Indeed..... you can make a LOT more by holding onto it.

Post# 156569 , Reply# 34   10/23/2011 at 10:37 (2,014 days old) by redgeminipa ()        

That's a truly amazing piece of history! I'd never let it go!

Post# 156570 , Reply# 35   10/23/2011 at 10:40 (2,014 days old) by kirbymodel2c (Nottingham, England)        
That.'s easy...

kirbymodel2c's profile picture
That's easy hold on to it!!! It's to rare to trade for other common vacs.
And if you was wanting to sell it on you could put it on ebay it would go for quite a heavy ammount


Post# 156572 , Reply# 36   10/23/2011 at 10:48 (2,014 days old) by rainbowjoel (Dexter NM)        

i like see a video of it.

Post# 156579 , Reply# 37   10/23/2011 at 11:34 (2,014 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

KEEP IT!!!!!

Post# 156581 , Reply# 38   10/23/2011 at 11:39 (2,014 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        
This is what happens...

...when a Kirby Heritage II and Kirby Generation 3 love each other VERY much!


I've seen pre-G series mixes and G series mixes, but never a pre-G series machine mixed with a G series machine!

Post# 156659 , Reply# 39   10/23/2011 at 19:12 (2,014 days old) by DesiredName (Utah)        

desiredname's profile picture
I would keep that if I were you. That is way cool!

Post# 156664 , Reply# 40   10/23/2011 at 19:35 (2,014 days old) by baglessball (UK)        

That ace!

Post# 156665 , Reply# 41   10/23/2011 at 19:52 (2,014 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        
One other thing

I like that all-metal motor pan!

Post# 156666 , Reply# 42   10/23/2011 at 19:58 (2,014 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Up until the Sentria, all the motor pans were metal, just painted metal, but on the more recent sentrias they used some lightweight plastic to lighten it a little... :\

Post# 156668 , Reply# 43   10/23/2011 at 20:21 (2,014 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
"What do you guys think?" a no-brainer.

aeoliandave's profile picture
Seriously Sean, you are only 25 years old and the possessor of what is at this point likely the ONLY one of these prototypes in existence and running condition (unless Kirby has one stashed in their Museum).

Pay whatever the man wants to have it buffed and shined and prettyfied but DO NOT trade it in on anything no matter how much you think you'd like those other machines.
If he is wiling to trade you the equivalent of almost $3000 in goods for it, imagine what he knows it is potentially really worth to the right client.
As much as I want to believe the shop owner is sincere you don't know what his heirs might do with it, either. As soon as it comes down off his wall you can bet it would land on eBay or in the dumpster.
If anything you should have a legal contract with the guy passing ownership and possession 'first refusal' back to you in the event of his passing.

You should write down every thing you've been told about it and keep its history with the machine. As the years & decades go by you'll be happy you kept it and the only alternative should be to pass it back to Kirby Co, if they want it, or to a sincere collector you know - or will meet - and admire.

Just sayin' all of us oldsters have stories and regrets of machines of lesser significance than this that we let out of our hands too soon.

Keep it! and bring it to a Convention. Sure to win some Blue Ribbon or Trophy. :-)


Post# 156675 , Reply# 44   10/23/2011 at 22:27 (2,014 days old) by vac-o-matic (Saint Louis, Mo.)        

What Dave said!

Post# 156693 , Reply# 45   10/24/2011 at 00:04 (2,014 days old) by lunchboxsean (Fort Wayne, IN)        

This is what I wanted. I wanted people to see it and appreciate it for what it is. Many people have told me I was crazy to keep such strange things like an old Kirby with no attachments, but I knew it was special. And now I can see you guys raving about it like this, this is what I wanted for it. I'm going to ask my friend to sign a contract which allows him to hang Prometheus on his wall so it has more exposure but will still allow me to have ultimate ownership and to take it to shows, etc. I just want it to be seen and appreciated and not sit in some corner in some fat guys apartment to never be seen. I thank you all for your extremely kind comments and advice. You don't know how much you have bolstered my passion for vacuums especially seeing as how I have recently been forced to squeeze my 2 dozen (give or take, ever-changing) vacuums into my new one bedroom apartment.

Post# 156709 , Reply# 46   10/24/2011 at 05:29 (2,013 days old) by kirbymodel2c (Nottingham, England)        

kirbymodel2c's profile picture
Oh by the way. Please take pics of it once it has been polished and cleaned:o)


Post# 156721 , Reply# 47   10/24/2011 at 08:41 (2,013 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
I just can't BELIEVE that Kirby would THROW it into a DU

gottahaveahoove's profile picture

First,  the waste!  Plus,  as mentioned,  the SECRETS! After seeing this,  they might be more careful around the dumpster!  "Pulled from the dumpster behind Kirby in Cleveland...." They'll LOVE that!  And,  I'm not even a Kirby guy!... but see how well I play with others?? They should have a "vault",  like another FINE maker of vacuums....around the house, around the world,  but NEVER around back,  in a dumpster. (God knows what was in their dumpsters)

Post# 156723 , Reply# 48   10/24/2011 at 08:48 (2,013 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        
If he is wiling to trade you the equivalent of almost $3000

scvacuumguy's profile picture
Dave, I'd love for you to come buy my trade-ins anytime if you're paying that much :-) .

Kirby Ultimate G= $75
Tristar= $150
Fantom Fury=$25
FQ Majestic= $150
Store Credit= $100

Total Value: $500 (Nowhere near $3000)

The dealer likely has around $50 in the store credit and everything else was traded in. I know all of our trade-ins are simply gravy since we build the trade-in into the price of the machine.

If you can get him to offer you cash, consider doing it- it's just a vacuum cleaner. Cash money always speaks better to me than trading a bunch of vacuum cleaners. Remember, the vacuum cleaner is not a widely collectable item. You do have a rare prototype, but its only collectable to maybe 300 people around the US, and a very small percent of them could actually afford a cash deal on the vacuum.

If cash money speaks to you more than looking at a vacuum cleaner in your home, sell it for top dollar. Never take a trade of goods, especially store credit on a vacuum.

Post# 156727 , Reply# 49   10/24/2011 at 09:34 (2,013 days old) by normvac (COLUMBUS, OHIO)        
Do Not Sell it, Keep it,!

You will be glad in did in the decades to come !

Post# 156730 , Reply# 50   10/24/2011 at 10:37 (2,013 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

aeoliandave's profile picture
Naturally, I was assuming the proffered enticements to be brand new in-the-box unopened NOS ensembles. :-)

You're right, of course; the dealer friend knows exactly what he's dangling in trade for this unique Kirby specimen. Heck, were I he I'd try to get it for a bargain, too.

"the vacuum cleaner is not a widely collectible item. You do have a rare prototype, but its only collectible to maybe 300 people around the US, and a very small percent of them could actually afford a cash deal on the vacuum."

Correct and as Collectors do we not wish for this singular machine to be cherished and cared for by one of the 300? This Forum is precisely the way to disseminate the knowledge of its existence among the Kirby Devotees. The response of the shop owner to the idea of merely borrowing the machine for shop display will be quite revealing, methinks.
Pay the polishing bill and bring it home, Sean. Accumulating a selection of accessories for it over time will be relatively easy should you want to increase its 'value' and utility. Orphaned Kirby bits are a dime-a-dozen at thrift stores and on eBay/Craigslist, as you know. I would not try to retrofit a headlight on it, however. :-)
As I said, if it were mine I would hang on to it for a few years (or decades) particularly because it will be buffed and polished, let the word spread among the faithful and in time that deep-pockets Collector can make his move. All it takes is 'the One'.
The only rational for parting with something this precious would be pressing financial difficulties, in which case I can think of many & most other vacuums in my collection I would flog off first.
Selling rashly on eBay and the like is always a matter of timing and location - as a seller always be prepared to withdraw the item from sale before the final 24 hours if it has not generated enough interest to achieve the desired 'top dollar'.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
On a similar note, I have in my care - in addition to several examples of the final product - the mid-1940 one-of-a-kind hand made engineering test bed prototype rescued off the loading dock of the defunct Connecticut Pratt-Read factory of what ultimately became the 1950 Aeolian-American PIANOLA keytop piano player. Comparing the two side-by-side is an eye-popping revelation to the faithful, differing in a multitude of ways from the final product in size, internal configuration layout and specifically engineered drive & control components that were ultimately rejected in final form. Many of the innovations and solutions in the prototype are astounding in their inventive simplicity but manufacturing & tooling cost considerations decided Aeolian toward a machine utilizing bulkier components already available off the shelf as a standard 88-note player. The prototype clearly indicates that the PIANOLA was intended to contain a fully reproducing Duo-Art and Ampico expression system.
This working prototype paired with a restored 1950 keytopper is destined to be donated to a Mechanical Museum of my choice in the years to come, either in Illinois, Michigan or Pennsylvania, for future enthusiasts to study and delight in.

I hope the same fate awaits Prometheus.

Btw Sean, did you christen the Kirby with that most suitable name?


Post# 156752 , Reply# 51   10/24/2011 at 18:03 (2,013 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

 Call me paranoid, butI wouldnt even let that Kirby out of my sight, and definitely not trust a contract for it.

Either way, its awesome and I love. it. Even John the Hoover nut loves it!

Post# 156791 , Reply# 52   10/24/2011 at 23:21 (2,013 days old) by thissucks ()        


Post# 156958 , Reply# 53   10/26/2011 at 01:29 (2,012 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        

gottahaveahoove's profile picture

Did I say LOVE?  When did I say that?  lololololo.(a very long story),  probably don't want to hear it, but that word...  has been very cruel to me.  I admire, appreciate,  etfc  that prototype.  And,  thanks for noticing I'm a nut,  hhehe   it's great Winkto receive proper recognition.

Post# 156983 , Reply# 54   10/26/2011 at 07:59 (2,011 days old) by henry200 (Saint Paul MN)        

henry200's profile picture

I "admire, appreciate, etc." nuts!

Post# 157019 , Reply# 55   10/26/2011 at 17:29 (2,011 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

Heh, I think everyone would love just about ANY vacuum prototype! lol


Post# 157082 , Reply# 56   10/27/2011 at 02:20 (2,011 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

I think those vacuums were so lucky to have survived-so glad someone rescued them.Usually when a factory throws something out like those vacuums-it is crushed,shredded or smashed so it can't be recovered intact.And such an unusual machine!Too bad these weren't on the market-so-that makes them VERY special!Put them in a glass case!

Post# 157095 , Reply# 57   10/27/2011 at 04:08 (2,010 days old) by gsheen (Cape Town South Africa)        

gsheen's profile picture

Yes it always made me very sad when they used to put prototypes thru the shredder when I worked in R&D.


I have a few left though that I was allowed to keep.

Post# 368653 , Reply# 58   3/18/2017 at 22:09 by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

I wonder if they have more models locked up in their vaults? Kirby, if you are reading this, please, release your prototypes.

Post# 368671 , Reply# 59   3/19/2017 at 03:58 by Kirbyg6 (York)        

kirbyg6's profile picture
Yeah that would be awesome

Post# 368676 , Reply# 60   3/19/2017 at 09:20 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

human's profile picture
Same thing happens in the automobile industry. Almost all of the concept vehicles that go on the auto show circuit end up getting scrapped when the season is over. A notable exception was two GM concept vehicles from the 1950s that were supposed to have been scrapped on Christmas Eve (I don't remember the exact year) but it was a bitter cold day in Michigan and the GM exec charged with overseeing their destruction didn't want to hang around to observe the operation, so he just signed off on the paperwork and left. The owner of the srap yard kept the cars hidden (and basically forgotten) for some 60 years until they were unearthed about five or six years ago and restored. Another one from that era that survived was the 1956 Lincoln Futura concept car that ended up in the hands of famed custom car builder George Barriss, who eventually turned it into the Batmobile for the 1960s Batman TV show.

Post# 368677 , Reply# 61   3/19/2017 at 09:34 by Myvacsrock (Dayton, OH)        

This machine is now in my possession. I have a thread out there. It's an interesting beast.

Post# 368678 , Reply# 62   3/19/2017 at 09:36 by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

Does a G series nozzle fit on the front of the machine?

Post# 368679 , Reply# 63   3/19/2017 at 09:57 by Myvacsrock (Dayton, OH)        

Yes it does

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