Thread Number: 35852  /  Tag: 50s/60s/70s Vacuum Cleaners
Help ID a Kirby
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Post# 384685   1/23/2018 at 10:55 by jpsbgt (Oregon )        

Hello to everyone ! Iím a new member and looking forward to learning about early Kirby Vacuums. Could someone please help ID this machine. I presently have a Sanitronic D50 that looks similar but this one has no id plate on bottom of motor housing....thanks

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Post# 384699 , Reply# 1   1/23/2018 at 16:19 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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It's 505-514 from switch.

Post# 384702 , Reply# 2   1/23/2018 at 16:37 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture

Your machine, going by the switch type, can be a model 505 to 512.


Post# 384706 , Reply# 3   1/23/2018 at 16:51 by huskyvacs (Indiana)        

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What's with the ID tags being stripped, did repair shops do that? Or do they get torn off over time from getting caught on a carpet? Mine also is a mystery machine. No idea if there might be assembly or factory marks inside on something that can ID it.

Post# 384710 , Reply# 4   1/23/2018 at 17:43 by jpsbgt (Oregon )        

Thanks everyone for your input ! I paid $30.00 for it, supposed to work, ďjust needs a belt ď weíll see on Friday...thanks again for the information...jack

Post# 384711 , Reply# 5   1/23/2018 at 17:48 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture

Order part no. 159056A (25 belts).


Post# 384712 , Reply# 6   1/23/2018 at 18:22 by texaskirbyguy (Plano, TX)        

Agreed, 505-514 by the switch. The aluminum model tags are attached on these models by two tiny rivets under the fan case, so it is possible one comes off and the tag got torn off.
The ad sounds a lot like the one for my 505. The motor ran, the belt was petrified, and it was all colored wrong for the model, but it was only 20 bucks.
No fret - here's what I did to it:

Looking forward to your report and what you do with it!

Post# 384713 , Reply# 7   1/23/2018 at 18:40 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
texaskirbyguy; Lesinutah

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture
Rob, and Les,

This toggle switch type was last used on model 512. On model 513 it was changed to a step-on foot switch button.


Post# 384721 , Reply# 8   1/23/2018 at 21:22 by Gj3476 (Dallas,TX)        

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I have a Kirby 517 and it was rebuilt in September 1996 and I accidentally removed the rebuild sticker on the bottom because I thought the original model plate would still be on there. So now I donít know the serial number on mine but I know itís a model 517!

Post# 384727 , Reply# 9   1/23/2018 at 23:14 by chicagomike (Plover, WI)        
Answer is in the screws

chicagomike's profile picture
Remove the screws in the tilt lever latch. Some models used a larger size, and others used a smaller size. If you remove the armature, look for a date on it.

Posting pictures of the headlight cover and emptor would show clues too. And all this is assuming the ID tag is missing from the bottom of the machine?

Post# 384745 , Reply# 10   1/24/2018 at 11:10 by jpsbgt (Oregon )        

Thanks again everyone for your help, I will post another photo of the front today

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Post# 384748 , Reply# 11   1/24/2018 at 12:22 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Hi I'd guess 508. The emptor would narrow it down more. Either 511 up or 505 to 510. Cord looks original.

Post# 384755 , Reply# 12   1/24/2018 at 13:36 by Oreck_XL (Brooklyn, New York 11211)        

oreck_xl's profile picture
Not at all. The cord is red to match the rest of the ensemble but originally it would have been a black Belden cord with a round female end to plug into the switch assembly. Really a shame so many of these early postwar Kirbys have been bojacked....

Post# 384756 , Reply# 13   1/24/2018 at 13:43 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

kirbyclassiciii's profile picture
Yes, until the 513 came out, all Kirbys from the 509 to the 512 were gray throughout except for the black wheels. The 508 was the first Kirby to wear gray trim, but still had the 505's black Sani Emtor bottom.


Post# 384759 , Reply# 14   1/24/2018 at 14:37 by bikerray (Middle Earth)        

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If you want to narrow it down further it is 510 to 512.

1. 510 was the first to have the sweet air plug in the em-tor
2. 512 was the last to have the flip switch, 513 started the push on push off switch
3. 513 was the first to have the brushroll that the screws were in the ends of the brushroll instead of the adjustment screws being in the nozzle.

Post# 384760 , Reply# 15   1/24/2018 at 14:55 by jpsbgt (Oregon )        

Another photo of bottom , can anyone direct me to a qualified repair person in the Northwest ?

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Post# 384779 , Reply# 16   1/24/2018 at 22:36 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Just type kirby certified near me in search. Son, could you please take a picture of the emptor. Take 5 photos front focused on nozzle headlight. Photo 2 zoom in take zoomed in pic of emptor with full side back view. Pic 3 back of machine getting plug power switch emptor. Pic 4 full left side of machine zoomed so we aren't looking at the bag. Last picture 5 nozzle head take off take out brush roll so we can see inside markings but place in assembly with bottom open facing forward. Once you have done that pic of nozzle and belt lifter shaft. This is so we can see nozzle. 2nd thought do 6 pics. 1 of only nozzle with out the brush roll so we can see in finding needed marks. Last close up of front of vacuum without nozzle on. I have had a long day. But pics of bottom of vacuum didn't help much. I just wanted to save people posting pictures request in future. BTW you have a very nice condition vacuum you did well.

Post# 384780 , Reply# 17   1/24/2018 at 22:46 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
I read your post again. You don't need a repair shop. The Vauum is in great condition. It looks like it just got cleaned up. When you turn it on and there is no shaking from brush nozzle or wheels you should be good. When you turn it off listen to motor. If motor shuts off gradually your fine but if sounds like motor almost done shutting off and you hear a spinning noise after motor sound is gone then maybe issue.
I wouldn't waste money having someone going to hose you for a cool hundred when they will wait until you leave spray it down wipe it off and there done.

Post# 384783 , Reply# 18   1/25/2018 at 00:46 by huskyvacs (Indiana)        
@ Lesinutah

huskyvacs's profile picture
"I wouldn't waste money having someone going to hose you for a cool hundred when they will wait until you leave spray it down wipe it off and there done."

I think that's just a matter of trusting your vacuum shop and getting to know them. I brought an Electrolux to my vac shop before and told them I thought something was up with the motor and it might need some oil. I took the cover off and made a little scratch mark on the metal of the screws around the motor and where they sit at before I took it in. I got it back a week later and it was all fixed. When I got it home and took it apart, sure enough, the marks I made on the screws did not line up with the mark on the housing, so that told me they did take the entire motor apart, and yes the vacuum did run a lot quieter and didn't sound like a jet engine.

Post# 384842 , Reply# 19   1/25/2018 at 20:20 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
This guy doesn't know a lot about vacuums and if he asks to get it serviced he's paying 60 easy. We both know looking at pics there is not $60 worth of service to be done. There are lots of vacuum shops being honest but keep in mind over head there going to charge 60. I had a g4 serviced best 60 ever spent. I spent 50 on another vacuum same place didn't need much but it's same fee.
I have newer tech drive serviced since I don't know much about transmissions but older ones I fix myself. If they diagnose for free good bi
But ya

Post# 384848 , Reply# 20   1/25/2018 at 22:34 by Lesinutah (Utah)        
Good guess

lesinutah's profile picture
Hi I looked at first pic again and it looks like it has sweet aire on it so it's 510 511 or 512.

Post# 384877 , Reply# 21   1/26/2018 at 13:52 by jpsbgt (Oregon )        

Could you explain sweet aire ?

Post# 384884 , Reply# 22   1/26/2018 at 17:08 by Lesinutah (Utah)        

lesinutah's profile picture
Back of emptor is a little cap. It was named sweet aire. It's basically a scented oil you put in emptor to make bag and emptor smell better. It was first installed on 510 through 561 I believe red being last color of sweet aire cap. On back of emptor looks like valve stem upside down and it screws in to slot in back.

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