Thread Number: 11298
Transformation of my Kirby 560
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Post# 122160   1/18/2011 at 21:15 (4,787 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

For quite a while, I've had a really lovely Kirby 560 that I got off of eBay some time back. I was the only bidder on it and paid about $50 for it. At the time, I thought to myself that I needed another Kirby like I needed another hole in the head.

But the more I looked at it, the more I wanted it. Especially since no one else was looking at it or bidding on it. It had been incorrectly listed in a commercial cleaning equipment category. I could tell it was in all-original condition -- including the bag, cord and all the trim. It looked very tarnished but at the time I still had my workshop and knew I could make it look new again. So what the heck, I went ahead and bid on it, and was the only bidder.

When the machine arrived, I was elated -- it =was= in beautiful condition, looking like it had hardly ever been used. Heavy tarnishing of the housing notwithstanding, it showed little signs of use -- the worst flaw being that the headlight nozzle bumper was chewed up pretty badly on one side. But there were no scratches on the nozzle, the agitator brush looked like new, and the bag was just absolutely flawless! I was looking forward to the day when I could restore it to its factory-new beauty.

But time passed, priorities ebbed and flowed, then I had my workshop taken away and then I moved. So the 560 has languished in my storage unit all this time.

A few other people have recently posted photos in Vacuumland of their Kirby refurbishments and restoring. Seeing these projects brought my 560 to mind. I knew I could not machine-polish it but thought I'd give "Mother's Mag Polish" a shot. I had never used the stuff myself, but other collectors -- including Stan Kann -- had raved about it. So I went to OSH and got a can.

I began by disassembling the machine and washing all the housing parts in hot sudsy water. I learned a long time ago that this pre-polishing wash greatly reduces the polishing time and work.

When I got the motor exposed, I was very pleasantly surprised at how clean it was! Sometimes when you open an old Kirby, the motor housing is just packed with dirt. This one was clean as a whistle, again making me think this was a seldom-used machine. Maybe one of those wonderful summer-home vacuum cleaners!

After drying all the parts, I sat down and began polishing. The instruction on the polish can said to use a terry cloth. But the tarnish was so heavy on this machine that I used grade-0000 steel wool first. Then I went over it again with terry-cloth shop towels. The heavy "tooth" on these towels makes them ideal for this purpose. I used to use old t-shirts but they really are not thick enough, and the surface is too smooth.

Well, I must say, I was quite happy with the results. The heaviest tarnish, and the "old age liver spots" did not disappear but I really didn't expect them to. These blemishes are difficult to buff out even with a professional polishing wheel. But overall, the 560 looks quite pretty now, and is sitting in my living room gleaming away!

Following are photos, and then below the photos is a link to a YouTube video.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO electrolux~137's LINK

Post# 122162 , Reply# 1   1/18/2011 at 21:23 (4,787 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 122163 , Reply# 2   1/18/2011 at 21:25 (4,787 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        

Very nice, charles... The 560 is one of my favorite kirbys, with the colors, the design of the belt-lifter and the bag... Magnificent.


Post# 122164 , Reply# 3   1/18/2011 at 21:30 (4,787 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

eurekastar's profile picture
Outstanding! The 560 is my favorite and you did a fantastic job doing a hand polish! Have you ever tried "Wenol" polish before? I have a friend who is an auto detailer and he recently gave me a tube. I've been using it with 0000 steel wool in those two crevices around the Emtor latch. It works extremely well. AGAIN, outstanding job! Thanks for posting!

Post# 122169 , Reply# 4   1/18/2011 at 21:35 (4,787 days old) by djtaylor (Salt Lake City, Utah)        

djtaylor's profile picture
Charles, simply stunning. I think I may have to go back over my 'fleet' of Kirbys with the Mother's and steel wool.
Very nice work.

Post# 122346 , Reply# 5   1/20/2011 at 15:06 (4,786 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

A lady from my former church stopped by for lunch yesterday as she was in the neighborhood. My newly refurbished 560 was still standing in the living room. When she saw it she said, "WOW! When I was a little girl we had that EXACT vacuum cleaner! I clearly remember the pretty gold sunburst on the front of it!"

She went over and had a look at it, exclaiming how beautiful it was. And get this -- she thought it was new!! She said, "I can't believe they haven't changed the style of their vacuum in all these years!" I let out a great chuckle and exclaimed it was not new at all, but had just had a "semi-spa treatment."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And speaking of gold sunbursts ... I have spoken in the past at some length about the iconography in Electrolux logos with roots in Freemasonry and other esoteric and hermetic origins.

Now I have just realized that here, staring me in the face for many years, is a Kirby logo containing esoteric symbology.

The 560 belt lifter is a circle within a triangle -- known as the "Trine Compass" in Freemasonry. The belt lifter itself is the triangle, then the circle within it is the circular Kirby logo. To top it off is the golden radiance behind the Kirby logo -- called a "Glory" in Freemasonry. Coincidence??!

Post# 122354 , Reply# 6   1/20/2011 at 15:48 (4,786 days old) by jodan3399 (Brownsville, PA)        


Post# 122421 , Reply# 7   1/20/2011 at 22:14 (4,785 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        

portable's profile picture
veddy veddy nice mr lester....

Post# 122427 , Reply# 8   1/20/2011 at 22:40 (4,785 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

@portable - tenk yuu veddy mach :)

Post# 425728 , Reply# 9   5/19/2020 at 16:46 (1,379 days old) by luxz80 (England)        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

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