Thread Number: 15180
GE Vacuum AVF - 801 - Some Questions
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Post# 161109   12/4/2011 at 19:47 (4,472 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        

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So Fred S. forwarded me an email he received from someone here in Chicago who is cleaning out his grandmothers house:


"Dear VACC,


I am cleaning my Chicago house and would like to find a good home for a late 1940s / early 1950s GE vacuum cleaner & accessories.  The vacuum cleaner & accessories are free.  Please see the attached images.  Please pass this message along to anyone that may have an interest.  


The vacuum cleaner can be picked up at the house, which is located on the NW side of Chicago, near the intersection of Irving Park Road (4000 N) and Austin Ave. (6000 W).  The best time for me to meet would be anytime between Friday afternoon (12-2-2011) and Saturday morning (12-10-11).  The vacuum cleaner, which was purchased new by my grandmother, seems too nice to place in the trash.


I will provide contact information to anyone that is interested.




Well, I took a trip into the city yesterday to pick it up.  Lovely gentleman.  The machine has been sitting in the basement since his grandmother died - about 30 years.  Pretty dirty, but under the dirt a very nice machine.  Just gave everything a bath and waiting for it to dry.  Two questions:  I know there has been posted here a guy who rebristles old brushrolls.  Any contact information would be appreciated.  Also, how do I grease or oil this thing?  It looks like one of the bearings is accessible from the back.  Here is a picture sent to me.  I'll post the "after" pictures this week.


Post# 161110 , Reply# 1   12/4/2011 at 19:49 (4,472 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        

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The attachments.  Never used.  The hose seems good.  This is an excellent candidate for a beautiful restoration.

Post# 161115 , Reply# 2   12/4/2011 at 20:07 (4,471 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        

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Davey - I just searched the archives and found out that you have the owners manual for this.  Any chance you would share a copy?

Post# 161120 , Reply# 3   12/4/2011 at 20:34 (4,471 days old) by truckerx (Palm Springs, CA)        

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Nice find! The rear bearing is a ball-bearing type and is sealed with grease. They usually go a long way before needing service. The Premier version of this cleaner is nearly identical. The gentleman who has re-bristled for me is in Youngstown, Ohio. ...trying to think of his name. Surely, some of the older members seeing this might be able to help you with that. I'll let you know if it comes to mind.

Post# 161121 , Reply# 4   12/4/2011 at 20:40 (4,471 days old) by truckerx (Palm Springs, CA)        
Brush re-bristling

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Here it is:

O'Connors Sales and Service
3224 Market Street
Youngstown, Ohio
(330) 782-4705

Hope this helps.

Post# 161129 , Reply# 5   12/4/2011 at 21:00 (4,471 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
Thanks Bernie

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"They usually go a long way before needing service."  Well this old gal is at least 60 years old.  Time for some bearing packing.  I'll check with Duane Taylor in Mequon.  I am sure he knows how to do it.  I will definitely call O'Connors tomorrow and get the brush roll off to them.  That being restored should put the machine in almost new condition.  Grandmother had the sense to release the tension on the belt.  Still flexible.  Amazing.  Thanks again.



Post# 161130 , Reply# 6   12/4/2011 at 21:14 (4,471 days old) by truckerx (Palm Springs, CA)        
Brush re-bristling

truckerx's profile picture
Hi Fred - you're entirely welcome.
One note about brush re-bristling: You may find the new bristles longer and in need of trimming to the desired length. Hope this helps.

Post# 161148 , Reply# 7   12/5/2011 at 02:29 (4,471 days old) by buffster ()        
Great find!

Can't wait to see the refurbished result Laughing

Post# 161158 , Reply# 8   12/5/2011 at 07:30 (4,471 days old) by kenkart ()        
RE bearings!

Be VERY most of these old GEs the bearings are not held other words, the individual ball bearings will fall out when you take the cover off!!!I rebuilt one of these, and was lucky I didnt lose any of the "balls" LOL!

Post# 161259 , Reply# 9   12/5/2011 at 20:24 (4,470 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        

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Here she is after the initial cleaning.  I am sure that some armor-all will fix up the base and bumper very nicely.  The washed bag turned out like new.  Plugged her in and turned on the switch - and nothing - na da.  So the brush roll is going to Ohio (talked with the gentlemen today and he said to send it.)  And the machine is going to Duane in Mequon (if he will have it!) to diagnose the problem.  Hopefully just a stuck motor brush or loose connection.  Thanks everyone for the calls and suggestions - including Dan P who offered up an adoption.  I'll keep you apprised of our progress.

Post# 161266 , Reply# 10   12/5/2011 at 21:52 (4,470 days old) by luxg ()        

Fred, that bag looks like new!! and what did you do to polish that chrome hood?   Just beautiful!!!



Post# 161394 , Reply# 11   12/7/2011 at 07:51 (4,469 days old) by dial-a-nap (Omaha - the home of the TV Dinner)        

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Very nice - and free! Love those GE handles, makes them look so beefy and strong.

Post# 161399 , Reply# 12   12/7/2011 at 08:39 (4,469 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
So's you can make your own...

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Here ya go, Fred. First, the hanging tag. Folded, it measures 3 & 3/4" wide. 5 & 5/8" tall.

The string is dark blue

Post# 161400 , Reply# 13   12/7/2011 at 08:39 (4,469 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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Post# 161401 , Reply# 14   12/7/2011 at 08:41 (4,469 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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six page manual on glossy coated stock...complete with patina stains.
Posting them sideways for the largest image.

Post# 161402 , Reply# 15   12/7/2011 at 08:42 (4,469 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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Pages 1 & 2

Post# 161403 , Reply# 16   12/7/2011 at 08:43 (4,469 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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center pages 3 & 4

Post# 161404 , Reply# 17   12/7/2011 at 08:44 (4,469 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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pages 5 & inside back cover

Post# 161418 , Reply# 18   12/7/2011 at 12:14 (4,469 days old) by truckerx (Palm Springs, CA)        
So Kewl !

truckerx's profile picture
Hi Fred,
Those are great brochures! Love it when you can assemble all the original stuff.
As for the ball-bearing issue, Hans is right. God forbid you'd lose your balls! The balls are not contained in a race - they are in there loose. If the spindle turns freely, I'd leave it alone. ...remebering the old adage "If it ain't broke...." ...just a suggestion from past experience. Those GE's ball bearings rarely ever seize. Chances are there is still sufficient grease in the bearing, albeit slightly dryer than when fresh but sufficient. If there are no signs of leakage beyond the bearing seals - the grease would still be in there.
Also, I thought the DOA diagnosis of stuck brush carbons was a good one. If you're handy and the brush caps are exposed, unscrew the caps, remove the spring and brush, lube the opening lightly with a shot of WD-40 and reassemble. It might be a simple fix that could get you up and running easily. Otherwise, I'd look for continuity between the plug, through the switch, and to the motor - really quite simple with a cheap ohm meter or test light.
Glad you were able to contact O'Connor's in Youngstown. If memory serves, Mr.O'Connor was a club member at one time. He has a nice collection of old vacuums as well as vintage cars. His family has been in the vacuum business forever. He told me that his Dad taught him how to re-bristle brushes when he was young. I gave him an old Air-Way tank that he wanted the last time I was through there. That would have been in 2003 while in route to the Milwaukee Convention. That's it..
--Bernie Mehlbaum

Post# 161491 , Reply# 19   12/8/2011 at 17:59 (4,468 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        

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Donald O'Connor is still a club member. He is one of the longest-standing club members in our group. I believe he joined in the mid-80's, right after the club was formed. He's a nice man, too. If I recall correctly, he also collects Oldsmobile convertibles...or, he used to....

Post# 161494 , Reply# 20   12/8/2011 at 19:27 (4,468 days old) by HooverCelebrity (Germany)        



So glad you were able to save the machine!  I knew it looked like a beauty! 


Here's your answer for getting service.....

Post# 161499 , Reply# 21   12/8/2011 at 20:12 (4,467 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        

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The amazing thing is that 847 South Clinton is about 2 blocks from my office in what is now the tony "West Loop."  Really do wish I could bring it in and have it serviced.  I can just see me now carrying in the vacuum on the train. 

Post# 161509 , Reply# 22   12/8/2011 at 21:50 (4,467 days old) by luxg ()        

That would be so fun Fred!!  I can only imagine...

Post# 161511 , Reply# 23   12/8/2011 at 22:18 (4,467 days old) by truckerx (Palm Springs, CA)        
Donald O'Connor

truckerx's profile picture
Hi John - long time! Good to hear from you. Thanks for the updater. Mr. O'Connor and the entire crew at his shop were extremely hospitable to me. And yes, seems he did have a few Oldsmobiles in the mix. ;-))
--Bernie Mehlbaum

Post# 161531 , Reply# 24   12/9/2011 at 10:39 (4,467 days old) by rugsucker (Elizabethton TN)        

Let me second,or third, that Don O'Connor is the type that "gentleman" correctly refers to.Nice guy who is very skilled and knowlegable.Has one of the good old vac shops that has the staff and inventory for modern times.The Oldsmobiles were all 1964 including 98 sedan,Starfire,88 convertible and more.

Post# 161538 , Reply# 25   12/9/2011 at 12:38 (4,467 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
Hooray for the World Wide Weebles.

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very cool and timely information. I am currently on the December Grand Tour of a week or so, on my way to Syracuse for the weekend Annual Christmas Dinner at organ pal Rich's. From there I will be seeing Chis in Oneida and on Monday down to Greene NY to visit with Mike - electroluxxx.


On a hunch (and a twingle?) I removed and brought along the bristle-less brushroll that was in my otherwise excellent Premier upright I scored from Mark in St Louis.


If time and weather permits I hope to be able to get down to, then over toward North Canton. Youngstown comes up just before Canton so...I will be dropping in at least.



stay tuned...and if you are located along that general route...message me.





Post# 161552 , Reply# 26   12/9/2011 at 15:27 (4,467 days old) by normvac (COLUMBUS, OHIO)        
O'Connors Vac and Sales

I too have had the priviledge of meeting Mr. O'Connor. After meeting Tom Anderson back in 2007, he mentioned wanting to go see O'Connors shop. To Talk
about his collection and redoing brush rolls. So on one of my summer trips
to N E Ohio to see family. I spent a sat. with Tom and we traveled to Youngstown.
Enjoyed a great vist with Don. He had just sold almost all of his Vacuum collection to someone in the Club. They had actually just picked up the collection a few days or weeks before we arrived. I did manage 2 Hoover Larks from the 5 or 6 that were left. Which
Jeff Schoff has now in Galion ohio.

We never did get around to discussing the Brush redo !

It was interesting as I walked into the his shop. I had a major Hoover Constellation (86) flash back. When I was still a kid in school, I would
spend a week with cousins in Youngstown back in the day. Both my Aunt and my older Married Cousin had the Constellation 86. They both had split hoses, at the wand end (Not uncommon to see them taped up ) So off to O'Connors we went !

Don did still have the 64 Oldsmobiles when I went back for the visit with Tom. The '64 Olds are my very favorite. Plus
Tom was into Oldsmobiles too. So we had some great conversation about Cars as well as vacuums.

Norm Brown

Post# 161883 , Reply# 27   12/12/2011 at 20:16 (4,463 days old) by hygiene903 (Galion, OH)        

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You're more than welcome to stop by as you're heading west through Ohio on the return trip! Would be great to see you again! Just let me know when you'll be heading this way and we'll see what we can work out.
And Norm, I have the Lark 12, but I think Jim has the 14.

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