Thread Number: 16009
Hoover Dustette
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Post# 170745   2/24/2012 at 10:46 (4,232 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

A friend of mine recently bought a Hoover Dustette and wants to find out its age, does anyone have the production numbers that tally with the years?

Post# 170833 , Reply# 1   2/24/2012 at 20:37 (4,232 days old) by Jayelux (Dallas, TX)        
Dustette and National Trust

Sorry I can't help, but I learned of the Hoover Dustette while reading the National Trust Manual of Housekeeping, first published in 1984. I love the National Trust (and English Heritage) and am in awe of how clean they keep those stately homes. Thanks for the post which triggered some wonderful memories.

Post# 170899 , Reply# 2   2/25/2012 at 11:28 (4,231 days old) by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London)        

vacbear58's profile picture
Can you post the serial number please - that coudl help, along with colour scheme

Post# 170903 , Reply# 3   2/25/2012 at 12:41 (4,231 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

I wont be seeing it until during the week but i will be sure to get the serial number and the colour.

Post# 171100 , Reply# 4   2/27/2012 at 11:43 (4,229 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

Here is a couple of pictures of said Dustette.

Post# 171101 , Reply# 5   2/27/2012 at 11:45 (4,229 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

A d serial number.

Post# 171102 , Reply# 6   2/27/2012 at 11:47 (4,229 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

And box

Post# 171107 , Reply# 7   2/27/2012 at 12:12 (4,229 days old) by twocvbloke ()        

I've got a bag somewhere that would probably fit that (not sure though cos I don't know those vacs at all), in dusty blue, cos someone forgot to empty it before chucking it into a box of spares I got last year... :P

Post# 171109 , Reply# 8   2/27/2012 at 12:16 (4,229 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

My pal hadnt even tried this out till he brought into my work today and it was filthy and the bad was full of dust, He has left it with me for a few days and i,ll clean it up a bit for him.

Post# 171246 , Reply# 9   2/28/2012 at 12:53 (4,228 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

Any ideas on the age?

Post# 171250 , Reply# 10   2/28/2012 at 13:53 (4,228 days old) by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London)        

vacbear58's profile picture
With that colour scheme it is pre-1950. The picture on the box shows the earlier style with a rocker switch but this is the later version - I would suspect that this would be pre-war, but sorry cannot be more specific than that


Post# 171253 , Reply# 11   2/28/2012 at 14:04 (4,228 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

Ok thanks Vacbear.

Post# 171257 , Reply# 12   2/28/2012 at 14:34 (4,228 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

Vacbear, do you happen to know who was the target for such cleaners like these? For instance was it people who couldn't afford a full-size machine, or were they extra items to supplement an existing cleaning? You've suggested before that you and I are of a smiliar vintage (I'm 73 now) but as I've said before, I had little / no understanding of vacuum cleaners and the history much before I bought my shop in the late 1970s. I feel I ought to know the answer to my question, but I don't.

While I am asking you this, do you know what year the Hoover 262 is from? You may have read that my mother owned one. My mother bought it in the early 1950s but it was 2nd hand even then. I remember it was a private sale from a well-to-do family who my mother used to keep house for. They emigrated and sold off most of their belongings. They already had the cleaner by the time my mother went to work for them in 1949/1950.

Post# 171301 , Reply# 13   2/28/2012 at 18:17 (4,228 days old) by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London)        
Similar Vintage?

vacbear58's profile picture
Well Benny, not quite - I was 54 at the start of this month (and I dont know how THAT happened so quickly) although sometimes I feel a LOT older.

Some quick checking reveals that the Dustette was first introduced in 1930 with rocker switch and polished alloy nozzle, the later version being similar to the one shown above.

It was introduced at the same time as the Minor 200, which was essentially a straight suction cleaner derived from the "Coffee Can" uprights. It appears both these cleaners were concieved as supplements to the uprights for, although the tool suction was quite good for an upright, the method of connection was cumbersome requiring the cleaner to be turned over, belt removed and hose connector attached before being turned right way up again. The Minor was not popular and produced for a very short time in the US. The early UK models appear to have been made in Hamilton, Ontario with a revised version being one of the first cleaners to come out of Perivale.

Back to the Dustette. Although by no means cheap by the standards of the day (almost 5) it was a much more convenient alternative to the "coffee cans" and more practical than the tools supplied from model 160 onwards and not much more expensive than the tools supplied with the "Ensemble" version. I think this remained one of its main selling points right through its very long production life as a supplement to to uprights. There must have been something of a market for these as there were several different makes, notabaly the very similar Vactric hand cleaner (although the Vactric offered a choice of tools which the dustette did not until the mid 1950s) and others I have seen over the years such as a Universal model and Dudley (Co-op). Indeed pre war Vactric top models (which were either imported from Apex or built under lisence) did not have tools at all but offered the hand cleaner as a supplement.

Now the question I have always wondered was - would they have been sold as a "stand alone" cleaner. I have more or less come to the conclusion that the answer to this is yes. At about 2/3 to 1/2 the price of the cheapest cylinders (and a long way behind uprights) for people who could not afford any more it offered a much better alternative than a dust pan and brush, and there were certainly enough different models about (and sold - even the very earliest dustettes crop up quite often on ebay) to indicate that there was a market beyond a supplement to an upright.

To answer your other question the 262 was introduced in 1939 as a cheaper and lighter version of the 160. The initial production run was quite short running only into early 1940 when production was stopped for WW2. Production started again in 1945 (shortly before the end of WW2) and carried on, alongside the 160 until 1950 when both models were replaced by the 612. Of course the pre-war 375 and dustette also resumed production around the same time as well.


Post# 171306 , Reply# 14   2/28/2012 at 19:27 (4,228 days old) by vintagerepairer (England)        

Hello vacbear. What an interesting reply. Thank you. You are indeed a mere young man to someone of my years then!

I did think that the appeal of the dustette and indeed similar cleaners must have been to differing markets, as we suggest, to supplement an upright and to use as the only cleaner in the house. Interesting to hear that a dustette and a Hoover cleaner would not have cost a good deal more than the upright with tools, and as you point out, the convenience aspect of using a dustette over an upright with tools must have been apparent for all to see. Yet, the dustette must have been rather limited in it's use, and somewhat 'basic' when compared to the tool kits available for the uprights, seeing how it was not until later in life that a whole range of attachments could be used with it? As it stands, it looks like it might have been ok for stairs, curtains, rugs, and curtains, but for actual dusting, I think probably not, which makes me smile as it conflicts entirely with the very name given to the cleaner!

The cleaner my mother already had when I was born was a Hoover 370, at least I think it was bought before I was born. I recall seeing her with no other. Do you know the year which the 370 was on sale from? I know mother sold hers to pay for the 262. I have no idea what money changed hands from each sale, other than to say that I think the sale of her 370 more or less paid for the 262 as I know mother said she was sold the 262 "for a song" as she put it. She was well loved by the family she worked for and of course they needed to sell everything in order to move on with their life.

I don't recall her having any issues about the 370, I don't know of it breaking down, it seemed to pick up all right, though it seemed to make sense to upgrade to a newer model, even if it was second hand, when the chance to do so arose. The only thing my mother ever used to complain about -and it seemed to me she did this every week on the day she cleaned the bedrooms of our home- that the 262 was much, much heavier to lift up the stairs, and this became a job which fell to myself or my father. Taking the cleaner upstairs, not cleaning with it, heaven forbid my father should do 'women's work'! I did ask my mother once how ever she had managed to carry it about when she cleaned for the family, and she told me that it would already have been taken upstairs in preparation for the day in which she did those rooms. The family saw to that for her. The house was on three floors too, but she went in at least twice a week and I am not so sure that she cleaned the whole of the house every week.

Post# 171324 , Reply# 15   2/29/2012 at 00:55 (4,228 days old) by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London)        

vacbear58's profile picture
A long time since I have been referred to as a young man, so thanks for that.

I did a quick check after posting above and from "On Judging a Hoover" from 1936 a set of tools for model 825/425 show the price of a tool set was 3/3/- (3 guineas) which price remained for the tools for 160 although they were completely different. The cost of a Dustette was 4/19/6. At that time the 370 cost 10/15/- with 370 tools at 2/2/6.

Production of the 370 began in early 1935 and ended at the end of 1936 although there may have been some carry over into 1937 - the 375 began production in December 1936. It is likely that the 262 was at least 10 years newer, and probably newer than that given how much of post WW2 production went for export and would have been percieved as a supurior to the 370 anyway so i dont doubt she would have been delighted with such a bargain.


Post# 171362 , Reply# 16   2/29/2012 at 13:04 (4,227 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

I was looking at this Dustette and am beginning to think this has been painted at some point.

Post# 171363 , Reply# 17   2/29/2012 at 13:09 (4,227 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

Old and new together.

Post# 171366 , Reply# 18   2/29/2012 at 13:44 (4,227 days old) by vacbear58 (Sutton In Ashfield & London)        

vacbear58's profile picture
Dont think so mate, it looks like later production of teh first version. bag is a replacment though

Post# 171368 , Reply# 19   2/29/2012 at 14:01 (4,227 days old) by whirlpolf ()        
old and new

nice thread, have a similar Dustette as well (but more bronze coloured), but this Dyson?
Surely a handy and strong vac (tried in once, nice on-off behaviour, is on 100% in no time), but the Dustette clearly wins at "looking like a real vacuum" (bag, nozzle, blower casing etc.).
The Dyson somehow cannot decide what to morph into next:
A coffeemaker? (the coffeepot dustpan)
A "Transformers" style raven's claw? (the yellow fangs on top)
A hairdryer? (that motor compartment)
A drill? (That DIY shop pistol grip)
Somehow, I expect it to twitch or move any second. Odd...
Futuristic is one thing, a split personality another (just my opinion).
Mind you: Talking about the looks here, not about the vac itself.

Post# 171370 , Reply# 20   2/29/2012 at 14:14 (4,227 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

There is traces of grey paint on the rubber guard and i thought the serial number plate was in bare metal rather than painted but i dont know anything of its history i am just trying to find some info for a pal, i did think it was a replacement bag thanks for confirming, i take it the box has the picture of the correct bag?

Post# 172012 , Reply# 21   3/5/2012 at 13:20 (4,222 days old) by juniorsenior ()        

So can anyone date this from the box photo?

Post# 282650 , Reply# 22   6/1/2014 at 12:27 (3,404 days old) by SteveL ()        
Hoover Dustette Model 100

Hello everyone, i am new to this forum and searched the net to see who looked the most knowledgable and this forum camee out on top.
The reson for my post is that I bought a Hoover Dustette Model 100 from a car Boot sale today, it was love at first sight, and I am desperate to get it working. I daredn't plug it in when I forst got home as the wiring was very bad, so I too the switch part off the handle and the wiring was not even connected. I have now re dressed the cable but I am having trouble finding out how to wire it properly as there are no '+' or '-' symbols anwhere in sight.
Does anyone know where each wire goes please? I will include photos of the switch and the inside of the switch area.
If anyone has any idea, I would be very appreciative. I am in the UK by the way.
Thank you all so much.

PS the text on the first photo is not very clear, it says 'Wires from the power lead' and 'Internal wires'

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 4         View Full Size
Post# 282662 , Reply# 23   6/1/2014 at 15:31 (3,404 days old) by beko1987 (Stokenchurch, United Kingdom)        


The two brown cloth wires come from the motor. The red and black are from the mains cable. Red is live, black is neutral (please check the plug just to be sure. Brown is from the fuse.)

I think, you wire the black and any brown to one of the terminals, then red and any brown to the other. The green wire is an earth, and screws in between the switch housing and the cleaner at the front I think.

If anyone can confirm that it would be great, its been a few years since over had one!

When it works though, you will have an excellent stairs vac!

Post# 282669 , Reply# 24   6/1/2014 at 17:11 (3,404 days old) by SteveL ()        

Excellent, thank you for that I'll try it and let you know if that works OK. can'rt wait to get it going, the stairs are filthy :-)

Post# 282677 , Reply# 25   6/1/2014 at 18:29 (3,404 days old) by SteveL ()        

Unfortunately that didn't work, popped the fuse, so maybe I got it wrong or the explaination wasn't clear, or maybe there is a fault with the motor.

Post# 282679 , Reply# 26   6/1/2014 at 18:42 (3,404 days old) by madabouthoovers ()        

The red wire shouldnt be wired to the brown wire directly - this will only effectively bypass the switch. The black wire should be connected to one of the brown wires utilising the screw hole on that egg shaped bit on the end of the switch assembly (I think thats what that bit is for). The red wire should be connected to one side of the switch and the remaining brown wire to the other side of the switch. The green wire is an earth wire, which is connected to the body of the cleaner.

The brown wires are the feed and return from the motor - they must be undamaged along their length, and free from any perished insulation, or they will cause a short circuit, or electrify the casing, which if the earth wire is connected properly will blow the fuse in the plug, which should always be rated at 5A MAX for this type of appliance.


If you are in doubt - use a multi meter to test the continuity between each of the switch terminals, the ones that you wire the brown motor wire to and the red live wire to  should show continuity only with the switch in the ON position.

Once again - do not connect the red wire directly to any other wire.

Post# 282688 , Reply# 27   6/1/2014 at 19:31 (3,404 days old) by SteveL ()        

Hi again and thanks for your answer although it is a little confusing.
On 'both' sides of the 'egg' shaped bit on the switch is a screw hole which are offset, so separate connections, and are separated by 3 cardboard type pieces to insulate i should think. the only other screw hole is in the body of the hoover in the switch compartment which i think may be for the earth but unsure.
I am confused with this part of your instructions:
"The black wire should be connected to one of the brown wires utilising the screw hole on that egg shaped bit on the end of the switch assembly (I think thats what that bit is for). The red wire should be connected to one side of the switch and the remaining brown wire to the other side of the switch"
If you connect the black wire and 1 brown to one side of the switch, and then you say connect the red wire to the other side, where does the remaining brown one go as you have used up both screw holes on the sides of the switch?
Sorry for my ignorance just can't understand what exactly you mean.
I have added 2 more photos.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 282692 , Reply# 28   6/1/2014 at 20:07 (3,404 days old) by madabouthoovers ()        

Ah, right - without actually having this part here in front of me, try testing the continuity between both sides of the egg shape bit - that may be the terminals from the switch then. If they are indeed the terminals, then when the switch is in the ON position, there will be continiuty, and in the OFF position there will not be. The only way I would do it is with a multi meter. I need to know more info about the continuity of these 2 screw holes.


There are other people on VL that could probably better help, but I am trying my best in their abscence.


The 2 brown wires - do they both have ring connectors on the end?

The red wire I think should also have some kind of ring connector on the end of it as well, so that it can screw onto the switch connector.


Post# 282716 , Reply# 29   6/2/2014 at 03:34 (3,404 days old) by SteveL ()        

Hi again and thank you for your continued help.
I think the mains lead may be an after market one as it look too new to be original, although it still has the old UK colours of red, Green and Black.
The 2 brown wires did have ring connectors on yes, but they have been popped of when I tried to connect them and the fuse blew.
Again thank you

Post# 283036 , Reply# 30   6/4/2014 at 07:49 (3,402 days old) by DaveTranter (Central England, U.K.)        
Steve L

'Unknown Dustette clears fuse'

Since your new machine is a 'car boot' bargain, may I suggest that you check that the motor isn't seized before applying power again?? If the motor is jammed, it is perfectly normal for the fuse to 'blow'. When you did apply power, did the motor start to run or hum before the fuse cleared, or was it 'instantaneous'?? Do you have access to a test meter of any sort?? There is usually a capacitor connected across the brushgear of this type of motor, which may have failed, causing a short circuit.

Don't panic!! You have 'dropped on' a sturdily built machine which can almost certainly be restored to working order for just a bit of work :-)

All best

Dave T

P.S. My mother owened a Dustette for many years, with it's original box/instruction manual. Unfortunately by brother and sister-in-law took this (and many other things of sentimental and/or monetary value) to a local 'charity warehouse' while I was at work, causing a 'rift' which has never been resolved.... :-(

Post# 283255 , Reply# 31   6/5/2014 at 09:15 (3,401 days old) by SteveL ()        

Thanks again for your reply and interest.
The fuse blew instantaneously but I thought that was because of the wiring confusion? I have tried to get the motor out of the casing by unscrewing the screws at the front of the machine but they don't seem to loosen anything and the motor doesn't release? So consequently I'm having a job to test it.

Post# 283446 , Reply# 32   6/6/2014 at 10:59 (3,400 days old) by SteveL ()        

I have decided that this is beyond my capabilities of repairing and I don't trust myself to mess about with the old electrics.
I have listed it for sale on eBay if anyone fancies a play with it.
Look for soulman_01

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