Thread Number: 10927
My Kirby 511
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Post# 118012   12/13/2010 at 17:14 (3,454 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Several weeks ago, I noticed an auction on Ebay which had three vacuums listed -- a G3, a G4, and an "older Kirby" for $250. The auction expired and the seller then relisted it at least one other time that I noticed. I was curious about the "older Kirby" so I emailed the seller to inquire. Well, he replied back and said it was a Model 511! I've both read and have been told that the 511 is pretty rare. So I emailed the seller again and offered to buy it if it didn't sell when the latest auction expired. He agreed. I was able to get a VERY fair deal, and it arrived today!

Post# 118014 , Reply# 1   12/13/2010 at 17:18 (3,454 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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It's in very good shape too. The bearings don't sound too bad and the bag is in fairly good shape too. I'm pretty sure the bag is original to the vacuum. Unfortunately, the silk screened logo is worn off. But otherwise it's in good shape. Even the brush roll is in good shape.

Post# 118015 , Reply# 2   12/13/2010 at 17:19 (3,454 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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I'm pretty sure this is the original handle grip too.

Post# 118018 , Reply# 3   12/13/2010 at 17:23 (3,454 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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I'm guessing this tag was put on by the Distributor when it was sold back in 1951. It reads, "KIRBY VACUUM CLEANER CO. -- Sales & Service -- 1009 Broadway -- Dial 3.6216 -- Kirby Sanitation System -- Life-time Guarantee"

I'm going to try and preserve the sticker on the handle when I rebuild it.

Post# 118020 , Reply# 4   12/13/2010 at 17:25 (3,454 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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And I do believe is original to the vacuum as well.

Post# 118022 , Reply# 5   12/13/2010 at 17:32 (3,454 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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For those of you who have been complaining about my photography skills (and yes, you know who you are! LOL!), please note that they are improving!

Post# 118023 , Reply# 6   12/13/2010 at 17:36 (3,454 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Oh, yeah! And it still has a six blade fan too.

Post# 118026 , Reply# 7   12/13/2010 at 18:12 (3,454 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

What a GREAT find, and, yes, it's all original. The logo has flaked off, as you noted, but there's just something kinda special about a vacuum cleaner that survives 100% original after all this time.

Post# 118029 , Reply# 8   12/13/2010 at 18:31 (3,454 days old) by joe22 ()        

congrats, awesome original plug

Post# 118038 , Reply# 9   12/13/2010 at 20:05 (3,454 days old) by kirbylux77 (Orillia, Ontario, Canada)        
Bill, your Kirby 511 looks great....

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And so nice that it's all original too. Unfortunate that the lettering on the bag is faded, but at least the fabric is in good shape with no staining or tears.

Enjoy your new Kirby!


Post# 118087 , Reply# 10   12/14/2010 at 05:11 (3,454 days old) by kirbymodel2c (Nottingham, England)        
Great Kirby...

kirbymodel2c's profile picture
Great kirby. I bet it will look even better once its polished up.
Let us all know how you get on with it:o)


Post# 118097 , Reply# 11   12/14/2010 at 07:42 (3,454 days old) by luxg ()        

Greg Kirby Bill!! What years would the 511 have been from. Congratulations on a rare find.


Post# 118130 , Reply# 12   12/14/2010 at 14:35 (3,453 days old) by fairfax88 (Orlando, FL)        
Hey Terry,

The 511 would be from 1951. And it is a BEAUTIFUL machine...


Post# 118186 , Reply# 13   12/14/2010 at 22:43 (3,453 days old) by luxg ()        

Thanks David!

Post# 119006 , Reply# 14   12/22/2010 at 10:06 (3,445 days old) by a007kirbyman (--->> Originally My Mom <<--- (now Wisconsin))        
Bill & Kirby 511...

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Hello Bill.

Congratulations on another nice find.

I can't wait to see 'her' in all her glory, after you've put her thru the 'spa treatment.'

The bag & cord are a true bonus. As I said when we talked, I guess I should've L@@Ked closer at that auction. ~~lol~~

Cheers & hagd all,


Ps: My apologies Bill for not responding sooner, been a little crazy (which is good, as it keeps me out of trouble). ~~lol~~

You already knew this though, when I've had to put you on hold. ~~lol~~

Post# 119044 , Reply# 15   12/22/2010 at 22:29 (3,445 days old) by normvac (COLUMBUS, OHIO)        
Kirby 511 Gray Handle Grip !

It is truely awesome that you have the org. black cord, with the kirby logo on the plug end.As well as the org. cloth bag
even if it is lossing it's color.
Having grown up with my Grandmothers Kirby that was a 511 or
512. Either model I am sure, had a Rubber (blk) grip orginally. Which
would crumble and split due to sweaty hands and palms. Correct me it I'm wrong but Kirby replaced the crumbling and
split Rubber grips, with the new flexible plastic grip in the Gray color. Which then turned to all red ones, at the appearance of Model 514 and it's Twist upper cord Hook.
My memory was of my dad wrapping the Black Rubber Grip with
Blk Electrical tape. Then in about 61 or 62 (10 years old) it went to the local Distributor for a rebuild. It came back with the Red Plastic handle grip, and a new Gray Kirby bag, with Kirby in the Ovals, It was all shined up looking ready for another decade of use.

Post# 119048 , Reply# 16   12/22/2010 at 23:13 (3,445 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
@ Norm

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I've had an on-going discussion with a couple of other people regarding Kirby handle grips and when certain styles were introduced. One of the problems is that Kirby didn't keep consistent records, so one can only speculate sometimes. According to Charles Lester's website (and he's done a lot of research!), the gray plastic handle grip was introduced on the 509. In addition to my 511, I also have a 512 with an identical gray plastic handle grip. I think (though I'm not positive about this) that Kirby continued using the gray plastic handle grip with the stationary cord hook up through the Model 513. However, Kirby introduced the larger red grip with the flip down cord hook as a late production item on the 513. That's speculation on my part. But a Kirby parts list dating to April 1953 still shows the gray plastic grip as a part specific to the 513. However, I have a 1962 service manual which lists parts for the flip down cord hook for the 513. That's why I'm GUESSING that Kirby began production of the 513 with a gray grip and then introduced the larger red handle grip with the flip down cord hook as a late production item on the 513, along with the upgrade to the 4 amp motor. But again, that's purely a guess on my part.

Post# 119109 , Reply# 17   12/23/2010 at 18:10 (3,444 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
Earliest Known Serial # of "New Improved 513"

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I'd like to know what the earliest serial # is to this "new and improved" 513 - with the 4 amp motor and the red handle grip.


Post# 119115 , Reply# 18   12/23/2010 at 19:32 (3,444 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
@ Ben

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I wouldn't have any idea, but I can tell you what the serial number is on mine.

Post# 119259 , Reply# 19   12/26/2010 at 00:07 (3,442 days old) by sukething ()        

I would be glad to repaint your bag for you if you wish call me and let me know..not cost just the shipping...

David W.

Post# 347987 , Reply# 20   3/19/2016 at 08:31 (1,532 days old) by KirbyCollector (Columbus Ohio USA)        

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I wish my 508 was that original. I'm working on finding original parts for it though.

Post# 355967 , Reply# 21   7/12/2016 at 23:21 (1,416 days old) by KirbyCollector (Columbus Ohio USA)        

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I want a 500 like those

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