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Post# 128915   3/26/2011 at 09:29 (4,721 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        

I have been wondering.....

Why are compact vacuum cleaners not that popular? I know they sold them like crazy for a long time.

Are they just not a collectors dream for some?

I think they are the best canister vacuums out there. Quiet, very powerful, funky restro colors,


the definitive answer to an indestructible vacuum cleaner!

So lets hear it (and see it!) for the Compact fans out there!! :)

Here is one of my grandpas compacts- A PN equipped C6

Post# 128922 , Reply# 1   3/26/2011 at 10:36 (4,721 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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I know they were pricey, sometimes hard sell tactics? And not sure I would agree with the quiet, well made and tough, yes. I still have my 59 C5.I think the price was like double the Lux? Does that sound right?

Post# 128924 , Reply# 2   3/26/2011 at 11:05 (4,721 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        

That sounds about right I think.. They were quite pricey for their time.

My grandpa and his father worked for TWA, and they used Compacts on their airlines. He said his father, a pilot, ordered two compacts (the old green ones he has) through TWA at an employee discount.

My grandpa worked for the airforce as a plane mechanic, and later for TWA for the same thing, ordered a Gold Compact with power nozzle and everything from TWA.

He uses them every day! He is obsessed with them, as am I!

I have found them to be decently quiet. With side air diffuser they are kind of that plugged nose sound.

His older green one (literally the same green as the background on vintage forums), does not have an air diffuser on it, and its just a hole in the exhaust. You can practically dry your hair standing up with these things!

They are significantly louder (same for CXL tristars) without a filter or diffuser.

Post# 128930 , Reply# 3   3/26/2011 at 12:16 (4,721 days old) by jfalberti (Visalia, CA)        
I've only actually seen two

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Compacts out in the wild. One was my next door neighbor, who had a blue one that was straight suction. I remember she never used paper bags in it. The other was when I sold Kirby. I was in the office one Sunday, getting caught up on repairs, and I happened to look out the window. Our office was in a residential section, and across the street I saw an older lady sitting on her porch with a dog and some children playing in the front yard. I finished the repairs, and grabbed an oil lamp ( a premium we were using at the time) and went over and had a nice chat with the lady. She told me that she had a Compact that she loved, and considered the best vacuum in the world. I told her about the Kirby (the Tradition at the time) and asked if I could show it to her. She agreed, but told me in no uncertain terms she would not buy one. I went and got the machine, and and gave her a relaxed demo. I asked her to bring out the Compact, and she refused. I figured there was no way I was going to sell the Kirby, so I continued and showed her the rest of the demo ending with the Rug Renovator. I gave her the price, with a generous trade in allowance for the Compact, and of course, she said no. I packed up and was getting ready to leave when she told me she had another vacuum she would be willing to trade in if she could have it for the same price. I asked her what she had, and she brought it out. It was an F & G Eureka upright, that was in fair condition. I agreed, and she got real excited. She paid me cash for it, and told me if she could get the same price on a second one, she would buy it for her daughter who lived next door. I agreed, and she said she would talk to her and get back to me the next week. Like I said, I haven't seen many Compacts in the wild, but the people I have encountered with them don't give them up.

Post# 128937 , Reply# 4   3/26/2011 at 12:54 (4,721 days old) by petek (Ontario)        

I would have to say it was the high price and limited exposure really. The rare times I ever saw any were at exhibition buildings etc during annual fairs, home and garden show, the odd time perhaps someone would be selling them in the mall with a balloon or something blowing in the air.

Post# 128962 , Reply# 5   3/26/2011 at 15:31 (4,721 days old) by kenkart ()        
I do know!

They sold TONS!!! of C5 and C6 around Lenoir NC my hometown,but I heard they were banned sometime in the late 60s from selling in NC for 20 years because of some kind of crooked finance scheme, My cousin had a Air Way 66 she bought in 52 and a C6 she bought in 64 She replaced them with a Elux 1205 in 70, but kept them both, I had them but let them go later, wish I had them back.

Post# 128973 , Reply# 6   3/26/2011 at 15:45 (4,721 days old) by suckolux (Yuba City, CA)        

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I am sure Queen for a Day got some of them out there. The TWA was a given, it was designed for cleaning that airline, home use later I believe. Thanks Mr Hughes.

Post# 129119 , Reply# 7   3/27/2011 at 10:49 (4,720 days old) by collector2 (Moose Jaw, Sk)        

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Compacts were quite popular here in the 60's and 70's. I still come across alot of the teal ones. They closed the office for some reason around 80 and, aside from a few of the red tri stars that came through, we havnt seen them since.

Post# 129172 , Reply# 8   3/27/2011 at 15:47 (4,720 days old) by moderncleveland (Cleveland)        

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Gorgeous color!

Post# 129179 , Reply# 9   3/27/2011 at 16:13 (4,720 days old) by kirbyvertibles (Independence, KS)        
They were huge here

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I live in a small town of about 10,000 give or take but in the late 50's all through the gold compact they were huge. We had one man named Gearld David who was the Compact man and everyone called his machines the little green and gold pigs. At one time he won an award for selling the most in all of Kansas just here in this town. He doesn't remember how many but it was over 1,000. I still see many of them, sadly a lot of them have been passed on to the kids who use them for the car or basement. When I started tinkering with vacuums in the 90's a vacuum shop close to the area got me in touch with Mr. David and both of them really helped me get my business going and remain friends of mine to this day. Sadly Mr. David retired MANY years ago but still had a house full of Compact parts and paper work as well as a few phone number to some of his original customers who were passed down to me. I'll never forget the first lady he sent to me. She was a Dr.'s mother and had bought two of the ( I forget if they were c4 or c6s' )anyhow she needed both of them serviced and decided she wanted new motors put in them after all these years, of coarse they didn't need that but she insisted. I did one of them and thought maybe Mr. David would like to ( one more time for old time sakes ) do the other one. I brought it to him and the old man was THRILLED to do one last Compact repair. His eyes were going so we did it together but he was so happy to be apart. I tried to give him the money for the job but he refused it lol.
I tried to sell Tristar around here after that but folks weren't interested.
I think David sold them for about $300.00 for the basic package. Not sure on the total package with Power nozzle.
I demoed the Tristar for $1000.00 ( they cost me $700.00 ) but the office I got them from was selling them in the big city for ( at that time) $2499.99 Sadly they are all gone now, I have no idea where to get a Tristar around here.

Post# 129658 , Reply# 10   3/29/2011 at 04:21 (4,718 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

I have seen a few around my way-and sold them with a freind who was the local dist for the area I live in.Some of the customers had older TriStars-at the time the company allowed the customer the 50% off discount wether they traded the old one in or not.Most kept their old machines-and they older ones were in nice condition!Typically a customer like this will be writing a check for the amount of the machine as you are unpacking the new one.You just show them the different features on the newer machine and they are good to go.The Kirby folks were doing the same thing-50% off the price of the new vacuum wether the customer turned in his old one or kept it.

Post# 129901 , Reply# 11   3/30/2011 at 15:26 (4,717 days old) by ryanm (New York )        

In my area here in New York, in previous years before the name change to Tristar, it seems to me they had a good hold on this area, with several big distributors from Long Island out to suburbs of New York. You would also see them in many vac shops sold new, as well as door to door salesman. For some reason, after they changed the name to Tri Star, the dealerships dissapeared one by one, and now the closest dealer I know of is 2 hours away in Pennsylvania. Several of my relatives had Compact vacuums as well. If I am not mistaken I don't think they were any more costly than an electrolux at the time.

Post# 129902 , Reply# 12   3/30/2011 at 15:44 (4,717 days old) by collector2 (Moose Jaw, Sk)        

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I had never really stopped to think about it but the change in name may have been the problem. When Compact changed to Tri Star (just like when Electrolux became Aeris) a huge ammount of customers were lost. Everyone knew what a Compact was and how well they worked and lasted. But the name Tri Star meant absolutely nothing to them. Just a theory - what do you think?

Post# 129904 , Reply# 13   3/30/2011 at 16:20 (4,717 days old) by normvac (COLUMBUS, OHIO)        
Compact Sales in the Lake Erie Region !

Having grown up 60 miles East of Cleveland. Kirbys were all the big bang along Lake Erie, East and West of Cleveland. In the early 50's. But before that in N E Ohio, being so close to Erie Pa. there were basicly tons of Lux XXX pre and then post WW II. So people did have some old coffee can Hoovers they would not give up, but loved their Luxs. Then the Post War Baby boomers were building new houses and remodeling old ones. Were buying the Kirby's. Which they sold, on a referral program. For every demo they did that was your referal (after you bought a Kirby and recommended it and the sales person)you got a 10.00 bill, If the refferal actually bought a Kirby you got a 15.00 payment. Which actually make your credit payment on the Kirby. So all of that just added more pressure to the person seeing the demo and not really needing to buy. But throw in a trade in discount, plus friends and family that you can refer. So any way. They all had Buyers Remorse, do to the extreme presure. Plus alot of them missed their lighter weigh Hoover upright or their handsome Deco style Lux. which served them so well. In came the Compact Sales man. Especially with the new Power Nozzle in the early 60's (1962). So they were doing refferals too, with written testamonials from Kirby owners who traded for the new, different and exciting Compact c-6 and then c-7 . So there you have the Regional story for compacts in Kirby land of Lake Erie.
Just had to share the for it has been on my mind for this thread!

Post# 129998 , Reply# 14   3/31/2011 at 00:56 (4,716 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

I remember when selling TriStars-the customer would ask-"What is that"I would ask them-"Did your Mother,or Grandmother have a Compact vacuum"?I would then explain to them that is the new TriStar.In a way it was a mistake to change the name-note how other high end DTD vacuum companies haven't changed their names except maybe Areus-Lux.

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