Thread Number: 36030  /  Tag: 50s/60s/70s Vacuum Cleaners
An Excellent Thrift Shop Find!
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Post# 386454   2/20/2018 at 16:20 by electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        


This weekend Arlee and I went to Palm Springs. We made the thrift shop rounds of course, and I came home with a real treasure -- a Model 19-B Filtex from, I'm guessing, the mid to late 1950s. (I have another model identical to it except that the leatherette is turquoise; I'm assuming it's later.)
It was priced at $99.99 which of course made me guffaw out loud! I sought out the guy who was busy pricing other merchandise and asked if he could do any better on it. He said, "I'll let it go for $75.00." I thanked him but said it was still too much for me. He said, "Okay, I'll go down to $50.00; that's half-off and the best I can do."
Well, the lady at the checkout counter overheard us. She came over and said to the guy, "Let me talk to you over here" and she steered him away from me. I figured she was going to tell him something like "A lot of people collect these things. Don't give it away." But what she whispered to him was, "Listen, that thing has been sitting there for months and no one has even looked at it. Here's someone who wants it -- give him a price he'll agree to."
So the guy came back and said, "How does $25.00 sound?" "SOLD!" I responded with a smile. Now, it's not like I need any more vacuum cleaners; nor am I really looking for any. But this Filtex was in such lovely condition [it was exactly as you see it in the photos] and I got it for such a good price, how could I turn it down?
The hose is shot. I'm going to give it the Flex-Seal treatment and see if it helps.
All that being said, can anyone tell me how the back cover comes off? The ventilation louvers have a meshed screen behind them that that really restricts the air flow. I want to open it up and remove those screens. I don't care if it will be louder, I'm more concerned about better suction and the motor not overheating.

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This post was last edited 02/20/2018 at 18:49

Post# 386459 , Reply# 1   2/20/2018 at 18:27 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

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If you didn't tell me first thing it looks like to be is someone glued some shelf liner to a Electrolux. Not a bad deal, I guess people don't like old vacuums anymore. And that's why I always avoid mom and pop thrift stores. They don't get enough business in to combat the price of maintaining the store and the taxes, so their solution is to raise the prices up on everything and demand unreasonable amounts of money and in return still don't sell anything.

Post# 386474 , Reply# 2   2/20/2018 at 21:31 by Paul (MN)        

Congratulations on a nifty-looking '50s cleaner and for the 75% price cut. You didn't mention the long face you showed the checker, but something tells me that that may have come in to play. haha

I'm wondering if there was a 19-A, or if the -B suffix was added to the 19 to indicate a change, addition, or tool set?

Post# 386530 , Reply# 3   2/21/2018 at 20:38 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
Sweet deal! I love the bit about the clerks.

Post# 386535 , Reply# 4   2/21/2018 at 21:54 by keither (California )        

keither's profile picture
** Congratulations ** :-)

Post# 386574 , Reply# 5   2/22/2018 at 18:05 by electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        
I performed major open-heart surgery!


I decided to open up the Filtex and perform major "open-heart" surgery on it. It needed a thorough cleaning inside.


While I had it open I removed the screens from the rear end. I just didn't like the idea of them being there.


I also installed a matching gray vinyl hose. The original hose was so shot that I didn't feel too bad performing vivisection on it. Not only was the original hose a complete leaker, the color had greatly faded as you can see from the piece that I pulled out from inside the handle. Interestingly, the original color was a silvery gray that I imagine must have been really pretty.


I gave the motor housing a quick go-over with Mother's Mag Polish on the metal and Armor-All on the leatherette and rubber trim. I think it came out really nice and it has great suction!

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Post# 386575 , Reply# 6   2/22/2018 at 18:34 by electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        


P.S. Yes, the motor shell is made out of cardboard but it is about 1/8 inch thick and very dense.

Post# 386598 , Reply# 7   2/22/2018 at 22:33 by broomvac (N/A)        

broomvac's profile picture
Wow, what a nice find, and a great job cleaning it up too! It looks to be in fantastic shape. Don't you just love finding that those "diamonds in the rough?"

Post# 386604 , Reply# 8   2/23/2018 at 02:38 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

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Seeing as it's made from cardboard, that tells me this was intended as a very budget and bottom of the barrel vacuum. The hose being faded might have been from it's time in the shop window or just general UV wear from inside the house over the decades.

Post# 386608 , Reply# 9   2/23/2018 at 08:20 by rugsucker (Elizabethton TN)        
"very budget and bottom of the barrel vacuum"

I don't think so!
Other opinions anyone??

Post# 386610 , Reply# 10   2/23/2018 at 08:44 by luxkid1980 (Richmond, Virginia)        

I think it is a very interesting looking vacuum. Nice job on the cleaning. How loud is that huge motor? :)

Post# 386611 , Reply# 11   2/23/2018 at 08:48 by luxkid1980 (Richmond, Virginia)        

I searched and found this on the site. I love looking at the old vacuum manuals.

Post# 386614 , Reply# 12   2/23/2018 at 09:21 by dysonman1 (Rolla, Missouri)        

dysonman1's profile picture
The Filtex was sold by door to door salesmen. Hardly 'bottom of the barrel'.

You could kill someone with those attachments, they're so heavy and well made.

The turquoise model was here first. Then, the grey model. At the end of production of tank cleaners, Filtex made a model for EMDEKO, which was a buying club (think Sam's Club or Costco). The White Sewing Machine company made sewing machines under the White EMDEKO label, as did Compact vacuums with the C-4 which by the mid 1960's was a discontinued model for any other sales venue.

The Central Vac was coming into its own during the 1960's, and the EMDEKO Filtex tank cleaner was the last hurrah of a once innovative company. Filtex began in Jackson, MI in the early 1930's selling a machine they called Progress. By the mid 1930's, the Filtex was designed and that replaced Progress. The move to California came in the very late 1930's when Mr. Hoppe died. His wife, Emma Hoppe, took over the company and was, to my knowledge, the first female owner/ceo of an electric cleaner company.

Post# 386641 , Reply# 13   2/23/2018 at 17:40 by frostyvac (Missouri, USA)        

Awesome find, loving that leatherette!

Well done on the surgery, I'm sure it appreciates it!

Post# 386669 , Reply# 14   2/24/2018 at 12:22 by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

eurekastar's profile picture
Wow! What a treasure! I had no idea any vacuum had ever been made of cardboard.

Post# 386670 , Reply# 15   2/24/2018 at 12:31 by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

crazykirbydude's profile picture
I'm concerned about how you know that Filtex attachments could kill someone! LOL :)
In all seriousness, this looks like it was trying to ride off the success of Electrolux and their popular Model XXX cleaner. Did this vacuum ever come with a crevice tool or sprayer? No self-respecting tank cleaner from the 30s-50s would come without a sprayer! LOL

Post# 386676 , Reply# 16   2/24/2018 at 14:46 by electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        


The only attachments that came with this Filtex were the rug and floor nozzles and a dusting brush. As you will see in the scan of the Filtex manual posted above, this model did originally have a complete complement of attachments including a sprayer and moth-eliminator.

Post# 386687 , Reply# 17   2/24/2018 at 15:55 by Dysonman1 (Rolla, Missouri)        
Mine is also a 19 B model

dysonman1's profile picture
But in the turquoise color from the very late 1950s. This one was given to me by my friend Bob Humphreys, and is on display at the vacuum cleaner museum in Saint James, Missouri. These machines are extraordinarily well-made.

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