Thread Number: 36402  /  Tag: Pre-1950 Vacuum Cleaners
1930's Royal 157 Hand Vacuum
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Post# 390217   4/9/2018 at 16:28 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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I got this on eBay for $12.54 on Nov. 4, 2017. It was nice and cheap, and I bought it mainly as just a practice dummy for learning to polish metal, not caring if it works or not, but I will fix it up and get it running.

It looks worse than it is, mainly just because it was sitting on a shelf for decades. The cord for sure is dead, the vulcanized rubber is rotting and that's what all those black skidmarks are on the inside of the box. It also got all over my hands. You try and flex the cord, and it snaps like a stick of spaghetti!

I'm not sure if it's actually from the 1930's, but it has "P.A. Geier Co. Model 157" stamped in the bottom, which I don't think was around in the...50's? 60s?


Photos taken on: 11/9/2017 10:12-10:19 PM

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Post# 390226 , Reply# 1   4/9/2018 at 17:50 by broomvac (N/A)        

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Based on the information you have provided us, that example might have come from the bottom of the sea.

Good luck practicing with the aluminum polishing! I would like to try my hand at polishing soon, too.

Post# 390240 , Reply# 2   4/9/2018 at 23:39 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Dude it's really super easy. Harbor Freight > aluminum polishing kit. You could go all out and buy a 7" polisher and spiral stitch cotton buffing wheel. Either way, hit it with the red rouge, nice and slow, medium pressure. Wipe clean, hand polish with Mother's. Done - probably 20 minutes for that little guy.

But. Half of that particular vac looks like rusty stamped steel. You'll have to sand that down, maybe finish off with 1000 grit, then rattle can paint.

Also apparently Royal was PA Geier Co until 1953. Possible someone substituted a later model Royal bag? I'd imagine this vac is 1953 or earlier then.

Post# 390245 , Reply# 3   4/10/2018 at 01:06 by hygiene903 (Galion, OH)        
Royal 157 Hand Vac

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The 157 Royal was the first revolving brush hand vac introduced by P.A. Geier in 1937. Prior to that, all Royal hand vacs were straight suction. It was built until the company switched over to produce war materials during WWII, then production resumed after the war in 1945 and continued until it was replaced with the model 501 in 1953. Your bag is definitely original, and your 157 is most likely a post-war version, built somewhere between 1945 and 1953. Here's a picture of mine, along with model 153 and 189 uprights from the same era.

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Post# 390247 , Reply# 4   4/10/2018 at 01:50 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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@ MadMan; I do remember you saying that, yes. I just wasn't entirely sure on the entire ordeal. I do have a bunch of microfiber cloths and some Flitz polish I just bought.

@ hygiene903; Thankful for the information!

Post# 390279 , Reply# 5   4/10/2018 at 17:26 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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Also, the P.A. Geier Company was bought out by the Walter E. Schott Organization in 1949, who renamed the business as Royal Vacuum Cleaner Company, but the new owners soon realized they weren't all that interested in the vacuum business, thus four years later they re-sold the company to a group of employees headed by Stanley E. Erbor, who subsequently renamed the company as Royal Appliance Mfg. Co.


Post# 390295 , Reply# 6   4/10/2018 at 20:04 by Dustin (Jackson, MI)        

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Don't waste good microfiber towels polishing aluminum, they will be trashed. Find an old cotton towel and cut it up into rag sized pieces. Use that and then dispose of them after. You will never get the stains out, and it will get all over the inside of your washer.

Post# 390301 , Reply# 7   4/10/2018 at 20:38 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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Do you think this would work?

Post# 390304 , Reply# 8   4/10/2018 at 22:00 by broomvac (N/A)        

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Unfortunately, I do not think that will work.

You will need a rotary buffing wheel, not a random orbital buffer. As MadMan said, a benchtop buffer would work great.

Post# 390308 , Reply# 9   4/10/2018 at 23:44 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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So I'd need something like this, then?

Post# 390319 , Reply# 10   4/11/2018 at 02:48 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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The thingy you linked is for polishing large flat surfaces (buffing cars). A bench grinder would work, but I prefer what I linked below. It's akin to an angle grinder. Except instead of using the supplied round disc polisher thingy, get a spiral stitched cotton wheel, which would be similar to the wheel you see on that bench grinder in the video. Or another type of polishing wheel. A hand-held polisher as opposed to a bench grinder will offer greater flexibility and maneuverability, especially for bigger things like full size vacuum heads. It'll make it easier to get into the nooks and crannies. Then again, a bench grinder has the advantage of being able to be bolted down, so you can really press against it. As opposed to the hand-held polisher, where you'd have to find a way of holding down the item you're polishing. Me, I just put the polisher on the edge of a table, and hold it down with one elbow, leaving two hands to work the item I'm polishing.

If you want to start small, however, the aluminum polishing kit comes with polishing thingies that you can chuck into any electric drill, and will do the same job, just a little slower.

I know attempting a new thing can seem daunting, I get that way with some things. I'm trying to overcome that daunting feeling with nickel plating atm. Still working on overcoming that, and actually starting doing it.


Post# 390345 , Reply# 11   4/11/2018 at 15:10 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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Well I think I'll try and go with the bench buffer, because I already have a workbench to bolt it to - and the idea of trying to hold down a power tool with your elbow and maneuver it around in all these awkward positions seems very dangerous. I got my shirt caught in a belt sander 2 years ago, the sander swallowed up and ate half my shirt and then started climbing up my body as the shirt wrapped around the sanding belt. Had a lot of weird abrasions on my stomach and chest for several weeks, looked like I got in a fight with a tiger. haha So I'd rather have the safer option where I don't have to worry.

Post# 390376 , Reply# 12   4/11/2018 at 21:22 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Dude that sucks. I'd be burnt on power tools too if that happened to me. I've had some scrapes (and stitches) here and there but for the most part I've been pretty ok.

Post# 390379 , Reply# 13   4/11/2018 at 22:33 by Lesinutah (Utah)        
Hygiene 903

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In for sale section a little bit ago someone was selling a pa geier model 81. I purchased it started it up and it runs like a champ. Power switch doesnt turn off but i can fix that.
I was wondering if you could shed some info on machine. It does not have a bag do you know where i could find even a generic bag to fit.
Thanks again your hygienes and Royal are stunning.
Thanks again


Post# 390385 , Reply# 14   4/11/2018 at 23:25 by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

If you don't wax afterward....Flitz keeps its shine longer than Mother's. Considering the work involved, you should use a good auto wax when finished polishing.



Post# 390386 , Reply# 15   4/12/2018 at 01:44 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        
@ Real1shep

huskyvacs's profile picture
I got a small bottle of Flitz based on what people here said on other threads about Kirby vacs. So I do have some Flitz. I just am not sure what wax to use afterwards as a sealant like you say.

Also I just bought a 1/3hp Sears bench grinder from 1968. it takes 6" wheels, and the wheels secure with a simple hex nut, so it should work with modern buffing pads.

Also Madman, I did find that Rogue stick you talked about, but didn't buy that yet.

It will be awhile before I get my garage cleaned up enough to get the bench buffer installed, but I think I should be ready when I do.

Post# 390399 , Reply# 16   4/12/2018 at 12:22 by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

Any good quality auto of the newer blends with longer lasting ingredients. Mother's, Raindance et al. I don't think it matters other than not pulling out some old wax tin your dad used back in the day. I do think the chemical formulas for car wax have greatly improved over time. 


Jewelers red rouge is the mildest/safest. If it were me, I'd start with aluminum polish sticks and switch to red rouge sticks at the end. But I'd only do that if there was bad scratching because you can start and stop with Mother's or Flitz.



Post# 390402 , Reply# 17   4/12/2018 at 14:02 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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You can just put the wax right on the metal even after polishing?

Post# 390403 , Reply# 18   4/12/2018 at 14:32 by human (Pines of Carolina)        

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Absolutely. Just wipe the wax on and buff it off by hand.

Post# 390408 , Reply# 19   4/12/2018 at 15:29 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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Alright, cool. Sounds like a plan. Now...just time to get all this crap out of my garage to transform it into a workshop!

Post# 390409 , Reply# 20   4/12/2018 at 15:46 by Real1shep (Walla Walla, WA)        

I'm never sure if there is polishing residue or not......but take like denatured alcohol and wipe the surface...let dry.....then wax.



Post# 390417 , Reply# 21   4/12/2018 at 20:07 by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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Another thing that might be hip would be to get a 35-foot-long, 3-wire cord (1-031136-100 or 1-031136-600) for your 157. You will, however, need these other parts to make that work:
1-239760-000 or 1-259761-000 - solderless connector, small
1-186718-000 - #10 lockwasher (for ground lead wire lug)
1-050201-000 - ground lead wire and lug group
1-880304-000 - internal strain relief (commercial)


Post# 390430 , Reply# 22   4/13/2018 at 00:21 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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Oh, I was just going to put that standard 2 prong ribbed cord on it that most 1990's Royals use.

Post# 390644 , Reply# 23   4/18/2018 at 01:55 by hygiene903 (Galion, OH)        
Hi Les,

hygiene903's profile picture
Sorry I can't tell you much about your hand vac, other than it is a Royal and was most likely built before 1937, when they introduced revolving brush hand vacs. It should clean up pretty good, but I have no idea where to get a bag for it. Thank you for your compliment on my machines, and wishing you the best of luck in restoring and finding a bag for your Royal.

Post# 390802 , Reply# 24   4/20/2018 at 22:13 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana, United States)        

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I picked up some wax, not sure what exactly to look for, but would this be what I need for a sealing wax after all polishing is done?

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