Thread Number: 11825
Lewyt Big Wheel
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Post# 127007   3/8/2011 at 14:27 (4,742 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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I went to the local 2nd hand store at lunch time today looking for a plant stand and what did I come across but a Lewyt Big Wheel. I had only ever seen one once in person when I was about 10 years old. This one looked so tiny - I guess everything looks bigger when you are 10 years old LOL. Anyway there was no hose or wands or floor/rug nozzle - only the dusting brush, crevice tool and upholstery nozzle. There was no price on it either. I don't know what model it was - it did have the power dial but not the see through window, the switch in front was a toggle switch with a red plastic cover and there was the attachment caddy on the rear. It even had a bag inside...the bag compartment even looked smaller than what I have seen from pics on here. If there had been a hose, I might have bought it.


Post# 127008 , Reply# 1   3/8/2011 at 14:30 (4,742 days old) by petek (Ontario)        

Yeah they're quite a lot smaller looking in person than the impression you get from a picture.. Did you grab it?

Post# 127013 , Reply# 2   3/8/2011 at 16:37 (4,742 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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If there had been a hose with it then I probably would have gotten it.


Post# 127040 , Reply# 3   3/8/2011 at 19:55 (4,742 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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Seems odd that the hose is missing if the tools are there - surely the hose must be in the store somewhere? Why else would it be offered for sale?

The Lewyt Big Wheel hose and connectors are specific and unique to that machine alone. As such, a hose-less Big Wheel is next to useless and you should get it for free, since it won't sell and will be consigned to a dumpster.

Depending on its cosmetic condition (picture? it sounds like a vacuum a collector would retrieve and then find a hose for, or the end units for a transplant, at least.

The model number is cast on the outside lid hinge plate.
Each Big Wheel model had a specific colour combination, sometime two-tone. What colour is it?
Would it be at all convenient for you to re-visit the store and snap a picture for us? Then you could assess the condition, the integrity of the cord and perhaps whittle down the price if it it hose-less.
What is the asking price, Gary? I might be interested myself depending on the Model No. and condition, because I love Big Wheels (and my Big Wheel lineup display area is far from complete. :-)

There are, I believe, 10 different regular Big Wheel models spanning 1955 to 1961, with 3 versions of the Electronic, for a total 13 original Lewyt Big Wheels to be had.

I could come to Astorville for a weekend micromini meet before mid April and bring my hose relining latex kit for your Eureka Empress...hint.

In fact I have a 4th Lewyt parts machine that Pete rescued for me - green & gray Model 88 - in terrible cosmetic shape with a rotten cord and crushed cracked bojack hose but it does have excellent wands with blue rubber and of course, the hose ends. You may recall that I used its tool carrier fitting to replace the broken one on my much better Model 88.

They may be small but the design is so elegantly engineered they are a pleasure to use. They generally pull at least 70" and my 1961 Model 120 pulls 75" easy. The big square bag holds more than an Electrolux cylinder, I think.

Red tab on the toggle switch? this just gets more and more interesting...


Post# 127046 , Reply# 4   3/8/2011 at 20:17 (4,742 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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I looked all around the store and there was no hose, wands,rug/floor nozzle to be found. Maybe I'll go back tomorrow and see if any of the parts have shown up. There was no price. As for colour well that is hard to say since I am colour blind LOL But to me it looked to be a bluish/grey. They also had an electrolux shag rug nozzle for sale.

A mini meet would be fun and of course getting my hoses latexed would be an added bonus :-)


Post# 127051 , Reply# 5   3/8/2011 at 20:49 (4,742 days old) by petek (Ontario)        

Hose or no hose I'd still grab it,, hose ends will show up somewhere

Post# 127062 , Reply# 6   3/8/2011 at 22:37 (4,742 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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I'm gonna have some fun with this in analytical sleuth, not that.

Well, the first 77 (1955) is blueish gray but it has a foot paddle switch like a 44/55/66 tub Lewyt, no 3rd caster wheel or tool rack posts, so it's not a 77.

The 88 (1955-56) is green with a silver base and lid.

The 90 )1957) is all green with a white lid. Known as The Golden Lewyt.

The 93 is all green. It has a simple top handle that looks like a kitchen cupboard handle, and no Power Dial on the lid.
Lower tier model?

The 95 is all gray blue with the same simple handle and no Dial.

The 97 (1957-58) is all bright blue with a silvergray lid and the Power Dial returns.

The 105 (1959) is back to all silverblue with a brighter blue lid.

No picture of the 115 (1960)

The 120 (1961) is silver gray with a darker gray base and introduced the Power Window in the lid for the see-thru Speed Sacs. It has plain aluminum wands with no rubber collars or rubber hand grip on the hose.

Then we have the 3 Electronic models with the pn:

The 107 (1957) has a sky blue lid and body with a dark gray base. The matching blue PN is a 115 VAC unit with a long cord clipped to the hose, that plugs into the base under the switch.

The 111 (1959) is a less bright all over blue with a silver white lid, matching blue PN and has the electric hose and wands that carry low voltage to the brush motor. This is the one that could shock the user.

Finally, the 121 (1960) is again pale blue with a silver lid and silver PN. It has very decorative and striking gold anodizing around the hose inlet plate, and on the raised cast handle frame surrounding the Power Window. The lid is modified with a stamped raised panel for the Power Dial that meets up with the inlet plate, like a hood meeting a car's upright radiator.

I don't know this for a fact but it seems the red plastic toggle switch was easily broken off and many switches were replaced with metal toggles?

All this is gleaned and saved from Doug Smith's former site. I'm sure he can fill in the blanks I have missed.

My 120:

This post was last edited 03/08/2011 at 23:04
Post# 127063 , Reply# 7   3/8/2011 at 22:38 (4,742 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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Fred's 121 Electronic showing the modified lid detail.

Post# 127088 , Reply# 8   3/9/2011 at 07:24 (4,742 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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From your descriptions I am guessing that it was a 97 or 105. I'm going back at lunch today to check it out.


Post# 127090 , Reply# 9   3/9/2011 at 11:08 (4,742 days old) by collector2 (Moose Jaw, Sk)        

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Hey guys:

If it has a red switch and no bag window its probably a 105 (but the 107 is a possibility but I think their switch was black). I may have a spare machine end for the hose. Will have to look. Keep me posted.


Post# 127091 , Reply# 10   3/9/2011 at 12:06 (4,741 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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Well I got the vac for $5.00 is a 105. Unfortunately the upholstery nozzle was gone so I only got the dusting brush and crevice tool. Still no hose, wands, floor nozzles to be found. I searched high and low and asked but to no avail.


Post# 127104 , Reply# 11   3/9/2011 at 14:24 (4,741 days old) by kenkart ()        
You will!

Find hose ends etc, I have a 120 that is a wonderful cleaner!

Post# 127115 , Reply# 12   3/9/2011 at 15:50 (4,741 days old) by powernozzle ()        

Is tha cool or what?


Post# 127119 , Reply# 13   3/9/2011 at 16:08 (4,741 days old) by arh1953 ( River Park, in Port St. Lucie, Florida)        
Well, the price was right!

arh1953's profile picture
Surely, there is someone on this site who has the hose, tubes, and tools for it!

Post# 127127 , Reply# 14   3/9/2011 at 18:05 (4,741 days old) by funvacfan (Canada)        
I just love

funvacfan's profile picture
happy endings!


Post# 127137 , Reply# 15   3/9/2011 at 20:09 (4,741 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
Pictures from all sides, please...including under the lid.

aeoliandave's profile picture
(But first - Happy Birthday, ANDY)

Hooray! Another Big Wheel saved. Slowly but surely the missing bits will be found.

What condition is the cord in? original plug?

I wish you had enough parts to begin using it now; I hope between Doug, myself and anyone else with spare orphaned parts you will be soon.

Post# 127138 , Reply# 16   3/9/2011 at 20:21 (4,741 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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The cord is in good condition and I believe that it is the original plug. The suction is pretty good also but I think it would be even better if I put a new rubber seal around the top of the bag chamber.


Post# 127139 , Reply# 17   3/9/2011 at 20:40 (4,741 days old) by vac_whisperer ()        



Post# 127140 , Reply# 18   3/9/2011 at 20:40 (4,741 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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Gary, it's our lucky day!

Scrounged around in the attic and came up with these spare bits to donate to the cause.

A blue/gray hammertone floor nozzle with gleaner clapperbar intact. Fairly decent sprung brushbar, too. Has a few dings, a bit of rust and clots of vintage rugdust packed around the brushbar...but it will clean up real good.

a pair of aluminum wands with a few dings - blue rubber collars in great shape.

Best of all, the hose that came with the 88 parts machine that Pete found. The hose itself is a woven thread 'universal' replacement on Big Wheel ends.

The sealing collar - that butts up against the inlet when connected - has a perished edge ring but that is easily bridged with a certain type of fat rubber O ring (available at any TSC farm hardware or 'other *wink* specialy' store. In a pinch a too-large soft rubber ring can be cut down and spliced together.

The hose is stiffening up so has taken a spiral set but is still flexible enough to be pulled out straight. It still passes the thump test retaining an estimated 80% suction. It is also a decent length measuring 86" from coupler to hose handle end. You can see the gray rubber Lewyt joint collars and hand grip are intact. The DIY handyhusband masking tape repair is unfortunate but we're lucky to have the ends, right?

This post was last edited 03/09/2011 at 20:59
Post# 127147 , Reply# 19   3/9/2011 at 21:50 (4,741 days old) by petek (Ontario)        

Now aren't you glad you grabbed it now Gary...

Post# 127150 , Reply# 20   3/9/2011 at 21:59 (4,741 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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1. Don't get too hasty with the lid sealing ring yet, Gary. We're so close now to resurrecting the 105 it would be a shame to bojack it any further. :-)
It would be near impossible to find a correct rubber strip that fits the lip. The suction of the machine pulls the lid down tight and so how the ring has settled over the years will be a perfect fit. If it is not crumbling and you can remove it, a bath in warm water, magic eraser and a saturating with rubber/vinyl auto trim restorer will work wonders.

2. Take the panel out of the lid, inspect and clean the Power Dial disc - this may be the source of a leak on Full Suction setting if the disc is rusty or the spring is weakened.

But wait...there's more!

The only Big Wheel originally equipped with a cotton weave hose was the first Model 77. Lewyt went to their excellent vinyl clad coil hose with the model 88. These rarely split.

I started messing around with and wiggling the hose couplers and the ends came out easily. As I thought I remembered I recalled, the Big Wheel ends are smooth barrels that are rubber cemented to the vinyl hose with collars covering the joint. Both ends swivel on their barrels, btw.

So all we need to do is find a decent soft vinyl hose length that will snugly fit the 1 & 3/16" OD barrels and you're in business. I suspect the hose for the 105 is a creamy white and again I will see what I have in the hose bin over the weekend ('cause I gotta dig for the box).

A Kirby, Westinghouse T-6 or Rainbow hose is the correct diameter which is smaller that a Lux or GE - this I know. And of course it wants to be 7 or even 8 feet long...or more. :-)

More queries:
Does the vacuum still have the rubber exhaust plug in the bottom? If not, I use a bathroom sink rubber plug with the lip edge, carve down the finger ring tab to fit and add a brass crossbar to lock it in place - makes a big difference to scattering dirt across the floor while venting the exhaust out the sides. LOL I bought a dozen of these plugs at Homo Depot because they are a perfect fit, the lip covers the side slots and the center cup is the perfect fit for a Lewyt Scent Tablet.

If the checked Mylar trim panel surrounding the toggle switch is curled and peeling off, no worries. Rubber Boot cement will stick it back down flat. If it's missing, the old rubber adhesive can be cleanly removed with cement solvent.

Ok Mister, I showed you mine. Now show us the 105 in it's before state - for posterity. :-)


Post# 127164 , Reply# 21   3/10/2011 at 05:19 (4,741 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Lewyt Big Wheels-Why aren't these still made today-seems like a classic design like Kirbys,'luxes.would love to have one-still lookn!and if you build them-make them METAL not plastic!!!At last a canister cleaner that can roll over its cord,carpet edges,and door threshholds without "tripping" or having to use a Railroad "car puller" winch to get the thing moving.

Post# 127167 , Reply# 22   3/10/2011 at 07:28 (4,741 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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Thanks for all the information. I really didn't have much time to take a good look at it last night as I was having a new organ delivered from a dealer in Michigan (I traded the 3 organs that I had so now I am down to one! yay!). Anyway back to the Lewyt. It does have the original rubber stopper on the bottom and if I remember correctly it does have the trim panel around the power switch. One thing I noticed is that the power switch is backwards i.e. up is off and down is on......or is that the way Lewyt installed them? I don't know how well the rubber seal on the bag chamber will clean up. I'll have to examine it more closely over the weekend.....if I can drag myself away from the new organ :-)


Post# 127196 , Reply# 23   3/10/2011 at 17:55 (4,740 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
"Survey Says..."

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'Upside down and backwards' must be the way Lewyt installed them, as my three post-77 Big Wheels operate this way. Up is OFF, down is ON. Something to do with the idea that one operates the switch with one's toe? Maybe because previous Lewyts including the tubs used a foot paddle pressing a spdt pushbutton switch (same as Air-Ways and Filter Queens) so the 'press down to turn on' action would be familiar to owners?
More musings:
While vacuuming one wants the vacuum running for a time. Once one has attached tools, wands, hose and deployed the cord one would be standing up ready to go so a simple press with the foot would be easier that hooking one's toe under the toggle to turn it on. But once finished one would naturally be stooping or crouching down to detach tools, hoses and winding the cord so flipping the toggle up would not be that awkward.

Not that I consider one method more logical than the other. :-)
Clearly I am giving this too much thought. LOL

Great news that your plug is intact. It indicates that all the rubber is probably in good shape because the plug seems to be the first piece to dry out from the exhaust blast loaded with carbon dust, shrink and crumble - which causes it to fall out of the hole and get torn off by dragging on the floor/carpet.

Same-ish thing about the trim panel - it indicates the vacuum spent much of it's life in a stable environment - not to be confused with a horse barn...

I'm looking forward to seeing it in person and hoping for a good weather weekend in the next few weeks where we can arrange me a visit to smarten the 105 back to useful and deal with your Eureka hose, too.
This rainy weekend I'll find a suitable hose for those 105 ends and post a picture.

I can only assume the new organ is a big step up from the three traded and the other bonus is the floorspace re-claimed (although I'll miss having a shot at the MX) :-)

How about a picture of the Lewyt with the new monster organ?

Dave - somewhat Looney about Lewyts, Bullish on Big Wheels

Post# 127200 , Reply# 24   3/10/2011 at 18:03 (4,740 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
More 105 trivia

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Besides confirming that up is off/down is on, I noticed reading over the Lewyt 105 Owners manual that not only are the supplied wands (extension tubes) for this model collar-less but they use a positive click push-latch system. I've not seen these.

I wonder why Lewyt returned to the rubber cuffed friction snug method in subsequent Big Wheels?

Well, the rubber cuff version just looks better and more upscale to my eye. :-)


Post# 127229 , Reply# 25   3/10/2011 at 22:06 (4,740 days old) by collector2 (Moose Jaw, Sk)        

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Hey Dave:

Actually the ruber cuffed wands ended with the 97. The 105 had the plastic clipped ones that you have pictured (usually the plastic cover broke off pretty quick) then the 120 changed to a metal clip as in your picture at the start of the thread which actually lasted the best of any of the styles. The 70, 81, 103, 200 series and later shetland lewyts all used a twist lock type of connection.


Post# 127231 , Reply# 26   3/10/2011 at 22:26 (4,740 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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As ever and always Doug, thank you for the clarification.

Here's a mash-up of my filthy Model 2139 showing the twistlock aluminum wands of which you speak and the logo-less Lewyt-style upholstery nozzle, the only tool this Shetland came with from the Thrifty Store. :-(


Post# 127261 , Reply# 27   3/11/2011 at 07:05 (4,740 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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Thanks for the wealth of info Dave and Doug. I will try to remember to take pics this weekend (the old memory isn't what it used to be!). The MX-1 has long been gone out of the house as I ended up giving it away to a work colleague about 3-4 years ago. It has been a very rainy couple of days up here also - the flooding is starting.


Post# 127363 , Reply# 28   3/12/2011 at 15:17 (4,738 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        
Here are the pics

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Pic #1

Post# 127364 , Reply# 29   3/12/2011 at 15:17 (4,738 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

countryguy's profile picture
Pic #2

Post# 127365 , Reply# 30   3/12/2011 at 15:18 (4,738 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

countryguy's profile picture
Pic #3

Post# 127366 , Reply# 31   3/12/2011 at 15:19 (4,738 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

countryguy's profile picture
Pic #4

Post# 127367 , Reply# 32   3/12/2011 at 15:19 (4,738 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

countryguy's profile picture
Pic #5

Post# 127368 , Reply# 33   3/12/2011 at 15:20 (4,738 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

countryguy's profile picture
Pic #6

Post# 127369 , Reply# 34   3/12/2011 at 15:20 (4,738 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

countryguy's profile picture
Pic #7

Post# 127374 , Reply# 35   3/12/2011 at 16:57 (4,738 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

aeoliandave's profile picture
Exceeding Nice Score, Gary.

Lovely colour combo, paper labels intact, excellent rubber, original cord & plug, no major dents or dings. A few paint splats on the lid that will pop off cleanly with a sharpened wood toothpick (no scraping with metal knives, please).

The chamber rim rubber looks to maybe have had a repair by the hinge? That tape bump could be a leak source but without seeing it I can't tell if it's necessary. Since the other rubber bits are in such nice shape I expect the gasket will clean up with Magic Eraser and be fine - if it's torn at that repair site a dab of silicone will look better.

The dusting brush you have is the optional white bristle one - cool. You can pop out the bristle ring and wash it in dish detergent - the white will return. Dry it out over a floor register to prevent corrosion.

The warp in the crevice tool is a prevalent situation with Big Wheels from its placement on the post while the cord is wrapped and unwrapped. The cord bundle forces the tool outward while it sits in the closet. I straighten mine out by bringing to just boiling gently in a pan then easing it back straight with gloves on. Hold it straight while it cools down under cold running water.

This 105 is a machine well cared for and well worth the rescue, especially for $5.

Still haven't got to the hose bin and I'm thinking until proper wands show up a pair of aluminum Electrolux wands would look smart. I wonder if I'll find a gray Lewyt upholstery nozzle in the nozzle bin?


Post# 127411 , Reply# 36   3/12/2011 at 22:39 (4,738 days old) by westingman123 ()        

My jaw is still dragging the ground. What a steal for $5.00! Congratulations, man!

Post# 127416 , Reply# 37   3/12/2011 at 23:03 (4,738 days old) by HooverCelebrity (Germany)        

I think every Lewyt crevice tool I've ever seen has had that curve to it. I don't think it was caused by the cord...

That is a great machine.. I've never seen a filter like that, nor have I seen that color scheme. I really love Lewyts; they are so maneuverable and easy to use.. everything's right there (tools)... and quiet, too. Definitely worth the $5!

Post# 127441 , Reply# 38   3/13/2011 at 11:32 (4,738 days old) by countryguy (Astorville, ON, Canada)        

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Sounds like you guys think the $5 was a good investment LOL I've been back to the store a couple of times hoping the hose and wands might be there but no luck.


Post# 127446 , Reply# 39   3/13/2011 at 13:11 (4,737 days old) by collector2 (Moose Jaw, Sk)        

collector2's profile picture
Very nice find

LOL alot of the crevice tools were used to clean out furnace vents or worse, steam rads, while the furnace was running. The low melting temp of the plastic made them curve.

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