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Post# 118633   12/18/2010 at 20:22 (3,487 days old) by OpelGTKarl (Puyallup, Washington)        

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Can someone please post some pictures of Bison vacuums?

Post# 118635 , Reply# 1   12/18/2010 at 20:36 (3,487 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
Here's One

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Found brand new in the box. A Centurion. A beast!

Post# 118638 , Reply# 2   12/18/2010 at 21:10 (3,487 days old) by joe22 ()        

i dont remember whos pic this is

Post# 118642 , Reply# 3   12/18/2010 at 21:21 (3,487 days old) by joe22 ()        
i am bison, hear me roar. . .

has a speed control on the handle


Post# 118691 , Reply# 4   12/19/2010 at 13:54 (3,486 days old) by whirlpolf ()        

These look kind of "kirby-esque" but with a touch of Star Wars helmets to me.
Rumor has it that they need no belt lifter for the power heads. How does it work then? I can see belts on the brush rolls, slightly off-center. Is Bison an independent company or are they in a manufacturer's merger pool like so many others?
Would love to have one, they were never in Europe.

Post# 118756 , Reply# 5   12/20/2010 at 01:23 (3,486 days old) by djtaylor (Salt Lake City, Utah)        
The Beltless Bison

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I understand that the Bison was belt less. The brush roller was driven by gears. I was also told that the gears were prone to break, were very loud and the company had many complaints. However, the idea was good. You could push a leaver on the side with your foot and disconnect the nozzle from the motor unit. I believe that the designer of the Bison had worked for Kirby, had the idea for the belt-less design but Kirby did not want to use it, so he started his own company. My former boss told me that a lot of Kirby salesmen went to Bison. Someone once told me that he had converted a Bison to use Kirby belts, but I don't know how well that worked.
Weather it was a good design or not I'd love to have one. It's certainly a one-of-a-kind vac.

Post# 118759 , Reply# 6   12/20/2010 at 01:32 (3,486 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Here's a link to my Bison on YouTube.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO electrolux~137's LINK

Post# 118761 , Reply# 7   12/20/2010 at 01:36 (3,486 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

And here are some photos of my Bison.

It really is an ugly thing, isn't it.

Post# 118770 , Reply# 8   12/20/2010 at 04:51 (3,486 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

the Bison is Ugly-but BEAUTIFUL too.would love to have the green one and the brown one(Mark3,Centurion).the plastic motor housing looks fragile though,how many housings out there are cracked or broken?

Post# 118774 , Reply# 9   12/20/2010 at 07:05 (3,486 days old) by 1926700 ()        
heres mine.....

i always thought these were UGLY as sin!!!...i have to admit though the green with the chrome is sightly more attractive...

now..i have a question....Freds brown bison is exactly like mine...but Joes has the same body and color scheme but a sightly different bag style....the pattern is different and it looks a lot stiffer than the bag Fred and i have...was that the only difference between those two machines?


Post# 118797 , Reply# 10   12/20/2010 at 12:12 (3,485 days old) by Sablekid ()        

I shall begin my hunt to find one of those!

Even though I love the way those look, they seem a bit clunky...especially compared to a Kirby.

They do look Star-wars esque!

Post# 118799 , Reply# 11   12/20/2010 at 12:32 (3,485 days old) by thunderhexed (Edmond, OK)        
one of my dream machines..

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I have been looking for one of these for years... still have yet to locate one..

Post# 118805 , Reply# 12   12/20/2010 at 14:13 (3,485 days old) by kirbyeureka95 ()        

2 questions...

1. can someone post a picture with the nozzle removed please?
2. isnt the geared belt drive what weve seen in the new kirby copyright plans?

Post# 118816 , Reply# 13   12/20/2010 at 17:26 (3,485 days old) by whirlpolf ()        
ugly? not ugly!

I find them more attractive than any Kirby (facewise, that is) - but then again I do like all kinds of kinky masks and mirrored visors as well (talking about sinister looks *g* 8-))) I think a grumbling Zylon face would become my collection perfectly.
Kirby vacs look too innocent, almost "vanilla" *duck and run*

But yes please, a pic of the coupler would be nice. Is it running in the dust air stream? Could this have caused trouble to the gear wheels?
Or was it in some extra tunnel so the dirt would fly by sideways without too much clogging the toothed sprockets? Just wondering.

Post# 118841 , Reply# 14   12/20/2010 at 19:28 (3,485 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

There is a principle in architecture known as the "golden ratio" or "golden mean."

Basically, this principle states that there is a certain mathematical relationship between the width and height of an object that appears "aesthetically pleasing" to the eye.

Architects and industrial designers have striven to proportion their works in accordance with the Golden Ratio at least since the Renaissance era.

Granted, this does apply more to buildings and structures than to industrial design, but the same general aesthetic principles do follow.

If you were to examine a given object and it seems to be innately attractive to you, the likelihood is great that its design is proportioned in accord with the Golden Ratio.

The 516-D80 and Classic series Kirbys, I believe, more follow the Golden Ratio than any other Kirby models. The proportions of the motor housings not only are perfectly balanced, ratio-wise, but also beautifully designed.

Then you have the Bison.

Its design from nearly every angle flies in the face of the golden ratio, especially from this perspective:

The lines of the body are jangled, disproportionate, angles oddly jutting out in visual dissonance. It looks klunky and disorganized. And indeed, it is. The inventor of the Bison may have had some good ideas but he had no concept whatsoever of pleasing industrial design and the golden ratio!

See link for more info if you're interested.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO electrolux~137's LINK

Post# 118846 , Reply# 15   12/20/2010 at 19:53 (3,485 days old) by kenkart ()        
The difference...

Between a Bison and Kirby, beside the fact that the Bison is basically a backwards that the Bison, when operating properly will clean RINGS around even the newest Kirbys,they are so powerful it is almost unbelieveable!

Post# 118849 , Reply# 16   12/20/2010 at 20:10 (3,485 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

@Hans - I didn't know that -- I've never actually used mine for cleaning, just pushing it around my (former) workshop. Glad to know it has SOME redeeming qualities, hahaha!

How about the straight suction through the hose?

Post# 118853 , Reply# 17   12/20/2010 at 21:10 (3,485 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
Adjustable Speed by Dial

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What made the Bisons unique was the ability to adjust the speed with a dial.

Some Hoover Turbomasters in the UK had adjustable speeds, too, including this example (on which you must push a button several times) in the link I'll give you.


Post# 118858 , Reply# 18   12/20/2010 at 22:01 (3,485 days old) by bisonian (Where the buffalo roamed! (Ocala, FL))        
NOT beltless, NOT geared

Folks, the Bison was NOT beltless, and was NOT geared. What it did have was a separate shaft for the motor and the nozzle. Unlike a Kirby, the motor shaft doesn't extend out of the housing when the floor nozzle is taken off, so the belt doesn't go directly onto the motor shaft.

A matching shaft on the nozzle fits INTO the motor shaft. The whole apparatus fits together like a socket and socket wrench. When you put the nozzle on the machine, the nozzle shaft fits into a square opening in the motor shaft. (Think of the nozzle shaft as the wrench and the motor shaft as the socket.)

The nozzle shaft has a conventional belt that drives the brush. That plate on the front of the nozzle covers the belt opening. As a matter of fact, Kirby belts work fine on them.

My understanding is that the square opening in the motor shaft would eventually become rounded from an improper fit, and would no longer turn the nozzle shaft. But no, there were no gears, in the airstream or otherwise.

Incidentally, the Bisons were made here in Ocala, Fla. The former plant is now the welcome center for the E-One fire truck factory.

Hope this helps clarify things.

Rick C.

Post# 118862 , Reply# 19   12/20/2010 at 22:12 (3,485 days old) by djtaylor (Salt Lake City, Utah)        
Thank you

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Rick, thank you for clearing up the belt or beltless issue. A friend in Indiana once told me that he was using Kirby belts on his Bison and I was trying to figure out how he was doing it. I am sorry to say that I was given a load of BS on how Bisons worked and what wore out early on some of them.

Post# 118884 , Reply# 20   12/21/2010 at 04:48 (3,485 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

The Bison nozzle drive connector sounds like what is used on a blender.Interesting design.Yes the Bison looks clunky and kludgy--thats why I like it.Its homely in a nice way.Now If I could find some Bisons.A possible problem with the speed control-I would think customers would have to be cautioned NOT to try to run the Bison in the carpet mode at real low speed-this could overheat the motor by putting too much of a load on it a low speed-the low speed would be good in the hose mode.This was a problem with the Kirby Diamond G and why the Low speed control was dropped-there were reports of customers burning out the motor when they tried to use that Kirby at low speed with the Shampoo attachment-put too much of a load on the motor at low speed-thus overheating it.

Post# 118914 , Reply# 21   12/21/2010 at 12:53 (3,484 days old) by Ohio_Tuec ()        

I never actually used my Centurion for cleaning, I was afraid of snapping the plastic drive shaft in the front nozzle. Some parts of the machine (like the plastic motor housing) were made unnecessary flimsy. My question is, were the Mark III and Centurion the only models Bison made? Were there any other colors besides the brown and "Dual Sanitronic green?" Also, when did the Bison first come out? I know around 1983 was the swansong....

Post# 118934 , Reply# 22   12/21/2010 at 16:12 (3,484 days old) by joe22 ()        

i really, really, really want one ;^)

Post# 118960 , Reply# 23   12/21/2010 at 21:45 (3,484 days old) by powertank ()        

I heard that the designer of the Bison used to work for Kirby, and left because he felt that he had been wronged. Could be total BS, but who knows.

Post# 118988 , Reply# 24   12/22/2010 at 05:03 (3,484 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Wasn't it Kirby that was sort of reponsible for the Bison co to shut down-thought Kirby filed lawsuits against Bison becuse of the similarities in designs.Yet the Bison machine is somewhat diffrent then the Kirby design.Guess Kirby wasn't flattered by the Bison competition?

Post# 120324 , Reply# 25   1/5/2011 at 23:15 (3,469 days old) by OpelGTKarl (Puyallup, Washington)        
Now the real question is....

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Is anyone willing to part with them?

Post# 120387 , Reply# 26   1/6/2011 at 12:13 (3,468 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

You know, I look at the pictures of the Bisons, and I see hints of the Generation series Kirbys, the angular nozzle, the wide motor body, the large headlight hood, the bag with the plastic rim around the base, obviously the Bison was a design long before it's time... :)

Am I right in thinking that there may have been some self-propelled Bison models, or was that something else?

Post# 120389 , Reply# 27   1/6/2011 at 12:21 (3,468 days old) by Ohio_Tuec ()        

Someone had posted awhile back that there WAS a prototype Bison that was self-propelled. Didn't Clay Floyd used to sell Bison machines?

- Karl

Post# 120434 , Reply# 28   1/6/2011 at 20:47 (3,468 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        

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Here's a neat little bit of info on someone who worked for Bison...this guy also claims to have sold over 1000 Kirbys a month, so consider the source folks.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO scvacuumguy's LINK

Post# 120467 , Reply# 29   1/7/2011 at 08:17 (3,468 days old) by twocvbloke ()        
"Kirby bags never again"

Except that it uses cheap pleated filters which you only have to buy when they clog up..... ;)

Post# 120469 , Reply# 30   1/7/2011 at 08:39 (3,468 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        

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It looks to me like a Eureka tank- the one that uses the DCF 10/14 filter. I'd give him an A for creativity, but the whole idea really chokes off the airflow on the Kirby. The airflow is what makes a Kirby a decent machine- so I'd imagine with the addition of that tank, the Kirby will have a hard time performing. It probably also packs that filter very quickly, considering those filters are used to the crap Eureka Optima and its sorry little amount of suction.

Post# 120473 , Reply# 31   1/7/2011 at 08:52 (3,468 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Yep, I would rather use an F&G setup on a Kirby than his "invention", heck, even a Baird "cloth handkerchief" dirt meter would work better... :P

I tried making my own actually, out of our former DC-04's bin, but I discovered that a bagless bin is meant for Negative pressure, not the Positive pressure that a Dirty Fan vac produces, cos every seal blew dust out... :P

That's a thought, I wonder if the Bison bag setup is interchangeable with a Kirby's?

Post# 120478 , Reply# 32   1/7/2011 at 09:08 (3,468 days old) by scvacuumguy (SC)        

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That would be interesting to find out. Unfortunately, I don't have a Bison. I'd love one though, hint hint...all I've got is money to spend on one as well.

Post# 120515 , Reply# 33   1/7/2011 at 19:04 (3,467 days old) by bisonian (Where the buffalo roamed! (Ocala, FL))        
No ...

The bag assemblies for Bisons and Kirbys are not interchangeable. The fittings that hold the emptors on the machines are different.

Post# 120569 , Reply# 34   1/8/2011 at 02:40 (3,467 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Not wanting to use disposable bags in the Kirby--Why doesn't Mr Keeler try to develop a Dump bag system for the Kirby--Like WHAT THEY USED TO USE.Would rather have a dump bag than Mr Keelers unit.

Post# 120574 , Reply# 35   1/8/2011 at 06:39 (3,467 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Which is why I have shakeout AND disposable bag setups for my Kirbys Tradition and Heritage84, so I have the best of both worlds... :)

I'm guessing that the Bison bag setup works very much like the Kirby shake-out setup? Drop the nozzle down, give the motor a blast, shake the crap out of the bag (literally), dump it out onto newspaper, scrape the bag out, dump out and roll the news paper up and chuck it in the compost/rubbish... :)

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