Thread Number: 11252
My first Kirby (or pair of Kirbys) dropped in unexpectedly today!
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Post# 121477   1/15/2011 at 21:21 (4,795 days old) by kubvan1 ()        

I started out not really having a desire to collect Kirbys (or is it Kirbies?) as I liked the minimalist looks of the metal Royals rather more than the seeming bulk and complexity of any of the Kirby models.
That said, somehow word has gotten out in the neighborhood that I like vintage appliances, and another neighbor (different from the Oreck donor I mentioned over on the Contemporary board) had a Classic III and Classic 1-CR that he was looking to get rid of. Needless to say, as the price was right, I grabbed them!

Both machines have various problems and are filthy, but I think I could get to like Kirbys more in general. I have not been around a Kirby since I was a little kid and deathly afraid of it, but there is still something awesome and imposing about them. Just like a classic American car, it has that same sort of quality to it.
Anyway, can't wait to start restoring these fine machines when I get some spare time and hopefully a source for parts as needed.

Best Regards
Doug E.

Post# 121479 , Reply# 1   1/15/2011 at 21:34 (4,795 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

eurekastar's profile picture
Sweet! You'll find a lot of help on the forum when you start restoring those vacuums. A007Kirbyman can sell you the parts you need at a discounted price too.

Post# 121576 , Reply# 2   1/16/2011 at 10:36 (4,794 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

Kirbys will almost sneak up on you. In a matter of three months i went from having one kirby to six... Classic III is a great machine.Mine cleans like a beast! Im sure you will love it.

Best regards, VW

Post# 121624 , Reply# 3   1/16/2011 at 15:19 (4,794 days old) by kubvan1 ()        
Kirby's will sneak up on you!?! Oh No!!!

If you told me that when I was about 4 or 5 years old, It would cement my fears about Kirby's! An aunt had one that I was convinced was out to get me. Something about that huge inflating bag and menacing metal "face" was pure terror to a little kid like me.


Post# 121634 , Reply# 4   1/16/2011 at 15:46 (4,794 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

Not what i was getting at but OK. What i meant is that your collection of kirbys will grow and grow before you know it.

Post# 121641 , Reply# 5   1/16/2011 at 16:12 (4,794 days old) by kubvan1 ()        
I knew what you meant!

Don't worry, I knew what you meant. It seems like that is true with any collecting hobby. Often things seem to find you, rather than the other way around. Before you know it, you are running out of places to put things!

I just thought the mental image of a Kirby sneaking up on you was rather funny!


Post# 121643 , Reply# 6   1/16/2011 at 16:16 (4,794 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

It is kinda funny. It reminds me of my favorite childhood movie, The Brave Little Toaster.

Best Regards, VW

Post# 121648 , Reply# 7   1/16/2011 at 16:35 (4,794 days old) by whirlpolf ()        
mental image: more than true...

I do remember this one day when I went to the Frankfurt flea market (wanted that Vorwerk carpet cleaner so badly). Click! There it was, just the same model! Talked to the guy selling it, what about that lousy old mechanical sweeper there? Hum-ho, some 3 to 4,- he said. Ok, I'll give you 2,50 or do you think anyone else will take that old clunker?
I got it for 2,- ;-))) (I'm out of Vorwerk by now, no longer my favorite).

Same with my computers: Working abroad I stared at that HP Desktop PC thinking "need a computer of my own, a GOOD one" (while I knew that some co-workers could get their abandoned machines for some few bucks).
Then I thought: "NO, stop! Correction! A REALLY good one, maybe a Mac or so".
2 weeks later I found myself buying that 8200 with loads of graphic applications on it for some small pocket money. Meanwhile a load of good friends kept phoning me if I wanted some vintage Macs with cables. Another friend moved to the south and sold me 5 G4 iMacs. And they keep pouring in. I guess my next computer will come in for nothing or next to nothing again, just like all the others.
Never break a good spell ;-)) Just keep a clear image, never falter.

Post# 121748 , Reply# 8   1/17/2011 at 01:59 (4,794 days old) by bimmer740 (Long Island, New York)        

bimmer740's profile picture
Its so funny how many members over the years have mentioned how much the were intrigued and at the same time afraid of a Kirby as a child. An Electrolux XXX and Kirby CR-1 started my love of vacuums, the Lux was already probably close to 40 years old by the time I was born in 1983, so beautiful and so quiet, and the Kirby was loud yet regal looking. My next door neighbor had the Lux (I now have it) and my Aunt had the CR-1, which was traded on a new G3, which she still has. Most times when I use my Kirbys the first person that comes to mind is my Aunt, since she had the first Kirby I ever set my eyes on as a toddler. One day I'd love to have a nicely rebuilt Classic 3 or Classic Omega, but for now my Ultimate G and Diamond edition fit my needs just fine. The Classic 3 is just stunning in red against its nicely metal polished body, certainly one of the best looking Kirbys in my opinion. There is something about using a Kirby which I just cant put into words, maybe its the heft or its very large appearance, combined with its sound and power (plus that change in motor noise when it seals to the carpet) that just makes one feel like you really are getting the carpets clean. Its like the S-Class of vacuum cleaners, you will be hard pressed to find anything that preforms better or is made better. Best of luck with your new additions, I wish you many years of happy vacuuming with them, and Im sure after a tune up they will be functioning for many years to come which is just another wonderful thing about a Kirby! :)

Post# 121749 , Reply# 9   1/17/2011 at 02:00 (4,794 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Well, Kirbys ARE scary to most little kids!! (Stay tuned for another Kirby story.......)

Post# 121879 , Reply# 10   1/17/2011 at 17:11 (4,793 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

I remember i was severely mortified by my grandmas kirby when i was a small child, (a classic 3), but at the same time, i couldnt get enough of it. I have a few kirby stories of my own, too.

Post# 121881 , Reply# 11   1/17/2011 at 17:13 (4,793 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

That classic III is in my collection now.

Best wishes, VW

Post# 121953 , Reply# 12   1/17/2011 at 19:26 (4,793 days old) by kubvan1 ()        

A quick shot of my pair of Kirbys in deplorable "before" condition. As you can see, the Classic III is pretty complete but filthy. The other machine obviously has some strangeness going on, and looks like a conglomeration of parts. The label underneath says Classic 1-CR, but the trim is red like the Classic III, yet the belt lifter looks more like the 1-CR/CB style, but just a plain reddish color label with no markings. Handle is clearly a blue Tradition, but with a red Classic III style grip.

The bag is not shown, and is red with red trim, but not a classic III style. Methinks that some vacuum shop put this together as a "spare parts special"


(also note my dilemma. I love upright vacs, but notice the lack of carpets in my house! It's actually a Colonial era tavern. All these crummy 1760's pine plank floors!)

Post# 121954 , Reply# 13   1/17/2011 at 19:27 (4,793 days old) by kubvan1 ()        
Another Shot


Post# 121958 , Reply# 14   1/17/2011 at 19:43 (4,793 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

That 1CR is definitely one that's been "modernised" to make it look newer than it actually is, I'm guessing that when it was done, the CIII was the current Kirby, so to make a 2nd hand 1CR saleable, they dress it up as though it were a CIII, some were done pretty well, but others, not so well... :S

The Trad handle though is a mystery, they probably only had that spare, so slapped it on there cos it fits... :P

Post# 121960 , Reply# 15   1/17/2011 at 19:56 (4,793 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

eurekastar's profile picture
The vacuum on the right is definitely a 1-CR. But there are several ways to tell. The 1-CR has a unique nozzle and fan case. The fan case has a flange around the opening that fits into the nozzle opening. Also, there is no scuff plate on the back of the 1-CR AND the cord inserts in a way that is perpendicular to the switch (instead of being parallel with the switch on later models).

Post# 121962 , Reply# 16   1/17/2011 at 19:58 (4,793 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

Don't forget the headlight cap is a bit shorter and has the hinge cutouts on the top... :)

Post# 121983 , Reply# 17   1/17/2011 at 21:09 (4,793 days old) by kubvan1 ()        
Both of you are correct!

Just checked, and while I did not take any more detail photos, the right hand machine is certainly an actual 1-CR. Fan case has a small metal flange surrounded by the gasket just as described, while the Classic III just has the gasket. The aluminum tabs that depress what I am guessing are an interlock switch are also different, so the nozzles are certainly not interchangeable.

No scuff plate on the 1-CR, and the headlight hood is indeed shorter with 2 hinge notches. They just went all out with red trim and wheels, and the bag is a small red and black check/plaid pattern but very faded.

My guess is the handle may even be a later replacement, as the blue really does not fit the theme!


Post# 121990 , Reply# 18   1/17/2011 at 21:19 (4,793 days old) by kubvan1 ()        
One more thing

Just had to say, you must give a big hand to a consumer product like a Kirby that can be rebuilt and resold time and again for the better part of 50 years (or more for some Kirbys) That 1-CR was already refurbished and dressed up once, and when I get done with these machines, I hope they can carry on for another 30+ years at least.
With so much throwaway junk being sold today, it's nice to see you really do get what you pay for in a Kirby. Let's hope the Sentrias are still going in 50 years.


Post# 121995 , Reply# 19   1/17/2011 at 21:23 (4,793 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

The handle's definitely a later replacement, probably just a mend and make do thing, it fits and works, but just doesn't look right... :)

Post# 121999 , Reply# 20   1/17/2011 at 21:25 (4,793 days old) by djtaylor (Salt Lake City, Utah)        
Pics please.

djtaylor's profile picture
Doug, I hope you will post the 'After' photos when you complete the refurbishing.

Post# 122004 , Reply# 21   1/17/2011 at 21:37 (4,793 days old) by kubvan1 ()        
I am awfully slow at hobby projects!

At the rate I complete projects around here, check back in about 10 years!
I have to figure out how to get them taken apart correctly first!

If I can rebuild a lawnmower engine, I would hope I can handle this.

Post# 122122 , Reply# 22   1/18/2011 at 17:12 (4,792 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

The one on the right looks like a classic III with a tradition handle and a 1-CB belt-lifter. The one on the left seems to be in pretty rough shape, but at least its all original.


Post# 122166 , Reply# 23   1/18/2011 at 21:31 (4,792 days old) by kubvan1 ()        
Both are in pretty rough shape

Both will need new brushrolls and possibly new fans, and a heck of a lot of elbow grease to get looking presentable.

Just wondering, is there a good tutorial for going about washing cloth bags like this? I don't want to do something dumb and end up with a soggy, ruined mess.

The 1-CR must have sat for a long time in one, presumably warm, place as the rear wheels are actually warped and splayed so that they wobble on their axle. I either have to replace them or do some careful heating and de-warping of them


Post# 122170 , Reply# 24   1/18/2011 at 21:36 (4,792 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        
Heres one way:

Take the cloth bag off. Soak in a mix of laundry soap and water, preferably in a 5 gal. bucket. DO NOT put this in the dryer when you are done soaking... The bag may shrink. You could ask Charles Richard for info, ive nevere done this, i got this tut. from his website. (scroll down to "things that go vroo in the night")

Post# 122172 , Reply# 25   1/18/2011 at 21:42 (4,792 days old) by djtaylor (Salt Lake City, Utah)        

djtaylor's profile picture
Doug, it's not worth the trouble to try to re-warp the wheels. Replacements are not too expensive, same with nozzle bumpers or other parts. As for washing the bags, that's easy. Once you have removed them from the Em-Tors, turn them inside out and vacuum the inner surface very throughly. Machine wash in cold water, not too much laundry soap, no additives like OxyClean or other. Tumble dry on low heat. The other trim parts should clean up with window cleaner and a kitchen sponge with a scrubby side. If you replace the brush rolls, I suggest four row double ball bearing type.

Post# 122174 , Reply# 26   1/18/2011 at 21:44 (4,792 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

I never knew you could put them in the washer+dryer... I guess it doesnt matter since im having trouble getting off the bags on my kirbys anyway.


Post# 122210 , Reply# 27   1/19/2011 at 08:04 (4,792 days old) by kubvan1 ()        
Many Thanks!

Thank you very much for the bag washing instructions. The bags on mine came off with some gentle persuasion to get the elastic off the Em-tor (flinging a huge clump of dirt all over the room)
I will do some more research and reading on my own to get up to speed with Kirby restoration before I end up breaking or losing something in the process of disassembly.


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