Thread Number: 14585
Question on Panasonic origin...
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Post# 154375   10/6/2011 at 20:02 (4,521 days old) by vac-o-matic (Saint Louis, Mo.)        

I have a Panasonic upright model MC-6210, 7 amp. motor, and says made in Japan. Today I bought a model MC-6255, almost identical except color, and it has an 8 amp. motor, and says made in the USA from US and Japanese components..very interesting. Can anyone shed any light on when the production changed over to here? I normally don't care much for plastic by-pass vacuums, but I have always liked the Panasonics, and the Sharps. I picked up one of those today too, both machines in flawless condition, I just couldn't leave them behind, oh well. I'd like to replace the brushroll in the Panasonic, any suggestions on the type I should look for? The one that's in it looks like a generic CWP. My 6210 has a metal brushroll with replaceable strips.

Post# 154385 , Reply# 1   10/6/2011 at 21:09 (4,521 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        
The purchase of the Whirlpool vac plant in Danville Kentucky

eurekaprince's profile picture
In August of 1990, the famous Kentucky vacuum plant that had been producing Whirlpool vacs and Kenmore vacs became a joint project of Whirlpool and Matshushita of Japan - the parent company of Panasonic. Here's a quote from the New York Times -

August 2, 1990
"The Whirlpool Corporation and the Matsushita Electric Industrial Company formed a venture to operate Whirlpool's 750-employee vacuum cleaner plant in Danville, Ky. Terms were not disclosed, but Whirlpool will retain a large minority interest in the venture. Whirlpool makes vacuum cleaners at the plant under the Kenmore name for Sears, Roebuck & Company. The venture will continue that business."

It is probably this very year that Matsushita started transferring their source for American vacs from Japan to the USA. And it was at this time that the vacuum cleaner designs labelled Panasonic began to look very different in each country, as the American Panasonics took on the Whirlpool features and colours and designs. Before that year, Panasonic vacs in both countries looked vaguely similar in colour and style.

Here's another article.....

CLICK HERE TO GO TO eurekaprince's LINK

Post# 154399 , Reply# 2   10/6/2011 at 23:19 (4,521 days old) by Red_October ()        

I suppose this is as good a time as any to ask this: Why do I never see Whirlpool-branded vacuums? I've seen one advert, an ancient one at that, for a Whirlpool vac, and it only on-line versus in a magazine or wherever. How many were sold branded "Whirlpool" versus, say, "Kenmore"?

Post# 154420 , Reply# 3   10/7/2011 at 07:48 (4,520 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

eurekaprince's profile picture
Hi Sean,

You could buy vacuum cleaners with the Whirlpool name on them up to 1990 when Panasonic bought the plant. Along with vacs labelled Kenmore, Sears sold Whirlpool labelled vacs all through the 1980's - just look at any catalogue.

Whirlpool was one of the first companies to offer a power nozzle with a canister in the 1950's. Here's an ad for one of them for sale on eBay:

CLICK HERE TO GO TO eurekaprince's LINK on eBay

Post# 154422 , Reply# 4   10/7/2011 at 07:55 (4,520 days old) by Oreck_XL (Brooklyn, New York 11211)        

oreck_xl's profile picture
But didn't Whirlpool sell their vacuum cleaner manufacturing plant to Oreck? I thought this happened somewhere around 1962. Who manufactured Whirlpool machines after that time?

- Hershel

Post# 154426 , Reply# 5   10/7/2011 at 08:13 (4,520 days old) by vac-o-matic (Saint Louis, Mo.)        

Brian, your info is much appreciated! I was just curious as to why models so similar were from different factories. I was surfing for a new brushroll for the 6255, and it looks like it did not come with the metal brushroll like the 6210? When I get time, I'll check the end caps and see if a metal one fits the newer machine.

Post# 154427 , Reply# 6   10/7/2011 at 08:21 (4,520 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

eurekaprince's profile picture
The relationship between Sears and Whirlpool began way back at the dawn of the early founders of Whirlpool: 1911: Lou Upton and his uncle, Emory Upton, found Upton Machine Company in St. Joseph, Michigan, to begin producing electric wringer washers. 1916: Upton begins making washers for Sears, Roebuck and Co., which markets them under the Allen trade name.

Here's another bit of interesting Whirlpool history: In 1957, Whirlpool of Benton Harbour Michigan bought Chicago's Birtman factory which used to produce Sears Kenmore vacs (Sears has always been headquartered in Chicago, if I remember correctly). Benton Harbour can't be too far from I correct? That is when Whirlpool began making vacs under its own name and for Sears.

Not sure about the sale of some of Whirlpool's vac operations to Oreck though. All I know is that Whirlpool continued making vacs well into the 1980's.

Here's a detailed description of the corporate history of Whirlpool:

CLICK HERE TO GO TO eurekaprince's LINK

Post# 154428 , Reply# 7   10/7/2011 at 09:54 (4,520 days old) by vacu-finder ()        

Funny thing because I found a Ricarr online that looks identical to the little 7 amp Panasonic, uprite.

Post# 154429 , Reply# 8   10/7/2011 at 10:16 (4,520 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

eurekaprince's profile picture
The reason why lots of the early Japanese-made Panasonic clean-air uprights looked like Hoover Dial-A-Matics is because they bought the rights to the design sometime in the 1970's. I think that the Japanese Riccar company contracted Panasonic to make their early clean-air uprights which is why they look so similar.

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