Thread Number: 19798
Wireless Vac-u-ette
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Post# 221097   2/28/2013 at 10:01 (3,071 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

Who here has used a Scott & Fetzer Wireless Vac-u-ette? I'm quite curious on how well they actually work? I have only seen one video and it didnt show it cleaning. I want one really bad but if it doesnt work very well I really dont want to spend that kind of money. Pics and VIDEO would be awesome!

Post# 221106 , Reply# 1   2/28/2013 at 11:12 (3,071 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi nubz3760.

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The Vacuette was the last of a long line of vacuum cleaners which were designed and invented by James B. Kirby (1885-1971) starting with his non electric 'Domestic Cyclone' which he invented and marketed in 1906 when he was only 22 years old.

After he saw the Vacuette go into production he turned things over to George H. Scott and Carl S. Fetzer. This does not mean that Jim was finished, far from it, he simply felt comfortable enough with these men to have them manufacture his vacuum cleaners.

As for the Vacuette, there were many prototypes, the most popular was the Vital Rand. There were two styles of Vacuette. One with the bag in the back (like a Hoover) and the other with the bag on the side.

The reason Jim designed the Vacuette was to give women with no access to electricity a way to clean their carpets, and do so effortlessly. For this the Vacuette was perfect, because it had a powerful fan to create strong suction. But good as it was, cleaning was limited to carpets, bare floors, and perhaps mattresses. There were no attatchments, as there was no way to create suction other than turning the wheels in a forward motion. Also, the faster you pushed the stronger the suction. That ended of course when the fan wound down. With this in mind, Jim decided to convert it to an electric model. The result was the Vacuette Electric. As the improvements continued the names were changed. The Vacuette Electric became the Scott & Fetzer Sanitation System, and the forerunner of the Kirby which started in 1935 with the model 1-C.

Pictured here are two Vacuettes and a Vital Rand. These are part of my collection, and this is my display at the 05 convention which was held in Los Angeles, California.

I will post other pictures of my Vacuette so you can see it better.

Post# 221110 , Reply# 2   2/28/2013 at 11:43 (3,071 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        

The vacuette is in my opinion, one of the collest non-electric cleaners! When wound up, they kept running for a decent amount of time, so you aren't running around with it like a bellows cleaner. Think of it like a windup car.

The one pictured below is my friends machine.

Post# 221111 , Reply# 3   2/28/2013 at 11:43 (3,071 days old) by Brandon_W_T ()        

And here is mine before it had been restored.

Post# 221130 , Reply# 4   2/28/2013 at 12:55 (3,071 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

do they pick up very well? a video of one working would be very cool

Post# 221171 , Reply# 5   2/28/2013 at 17:28 (3,071 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi nubz3760.

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Yes! very well!!

I've have a number of non electric vacuum cleaners, including the oldest of them all, the Whirlwind, which was invented in 1869, almost 40 years before the first Kirby machine (1906) and the Hoover model O (1908).

All of Jim Kirby's non electric machines worked extremely well, but the Vacuette was the best of the best.

Here's a picture of the Whirlwind. It was invented in Chicago, by Ives W. Mc'Gaffy, and patented on June 8, 1869. It was manufactured in Boston by The American Carpet Cleaning company.

Post# 221172 , Reply# 6   2/28/2013 at 17:30 (3,071 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Another look at the

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Post# 221174 , Reply# 7   2/28/2013 at 17:38 (3,071 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        

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the Vacuette.

Post# 221186 , Reply# 8   2/28/2013 at 18:44 (3,071 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

How exactly does the whirlwind work? I assume you have to crank it?

Post# 221236 , Reply# 9   2/28/2013 at 23:13 (3,070 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
The Whirlwind

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You got it!

The little round thing at the bottom of the drive belt is the wheel that spins the fan. The faster you turn the upper crank the stronger the suction right? No! The belt tended to fall off the upper trolly. Actually it was not a very good vacuum cleaner, what made it special was that it was the first.

There's nothing mentioned about this inventor in any of the papers I've gone through. It seems he was just a simple man who had an idea. I've heard that he designed this for his wife to make her job easier, but that was never confirmed. The Whirlwind was sold in Chicago, but Mc'Gaffy took his invention to Boston in 1869 where it was mass produced. This was a very wise move, because in October 1871, there was a massive fire that swept through Chicago and distroyed the city. And contrary to popular belief, it was not a cow that kicked over a lantern that started the fire. But whatever Whirlwind's were there burned like match sticks, as it's made of a very light wood. But Mc'Gaffy was not completely out of the woods, because Boston had a nasty fire in 1872.

The one I have was in some attic in New Hampshire, and a friend who was an antique dealer got it at auction. Seems nobody knew anything about it. He said that he had a wooden vacuum cleaner, and sold it to me. When I opened the box, WOW! I immediately knew what a find I had.

Most people think that the only drawback was not having an electric motor. Not true! In 1905, Mc'Gaffy outfitted it with a motor to turn the upper crank, that didn't work very good either!

One of the first practical non electric's was the Domestic Cyclone invented by Jim Kirby. Another popular one was the Grasshopper, sometimes called the Ezee, also designed by Jim Kirby.

From what I can tell the Vacuette was as I said, the best of the best.

Post# 221239 , Reply# 10   2/28/2013 at 23:17 (3,070 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

I just drool over that vacuette wireless. Some day one WILL be mine.

It really makes you think; if they could make such a good non-electric machine way back then, what could they make now with modern technology?

Post# 221249 , Reply# 11   3/1/2013 at 01:47 (3,070 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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I agree that the vacuette is perhaps the best non-elec. vacuum ever made, and indeed, it is my favorite too. Here is some of my collection.

Post# 221255 , Reply# 12   3/1/2013 at 02:38 (3,070 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Old Eurekas are pretty good too

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The eureka to the left is a 1923 model 9, and the eureka to the right is a 1927 model 10. Both are complete and original.

Post# 221264 , Reply# 13   3/1/2013 at 08:06 (3,070 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi cb123.

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Nice collection! I really like the bag on the Vacuette, I've never seen one with that much detail. Thanks for sharing. By the way, What's that little toy vacuum cleaner? it looks like a baby Vacuette. And while I'm not all that fond of Eurkea's, I do like the early upright models, like the one's you show here.

I've never thought of a hose tree, but that makes a lot of sense. Again, thanks for sharing.

Post# 221271 , Reply# 14   3/1/2013 at 09:42 (3,070 days old) by rugsucker (Elizabethton TN)        

Great vacs and display!Are you a woodworker also?That bag shows how some products would associate themselves with latest technology such as the radio tower.And a later vac called itself Electronic when at least one consumer magazine found "nothing" electronic about it.One ad for the Vacuette describes it cleaning hallways in about a 10 story office building.They would have had electricity but must have liked the cord free convenience as with later rechargables.

Post# 221276 , Reply# 15   3/1/2013 at 10:21 (3,070 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

I really think they should make these again. seems like a much better alternative to a carpet sweeper. I bet the vacuette is nearly silent too.

Post# 221309 , Reply# 16   3/1/2013 at 15:32 (3,070 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Frantz Premier salesman sample

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The little vac. is a 1917 Frantz Premier salesman sample. I believe Jim Kirby worked on it- as many other things. He was most prolific- since he was almost everywhere. The vacuettes that I have sound like whirlwinds and are unbelievable powerful.

Post# 221311 , Reply# 17   3/1/2013 at 15:48 (3,070 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Frantz Premier

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1st. close up.

Post# 221312 , Reply# 18   3/1/2013 at 16:06 (3,070 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Vacuette pamphlet

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Here's a new vacuette pamphlet.

Post# 221315 , Reply# 19   3/1/2013 at 16:20 (3,070 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Other side

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Inside of pamphlet.

Post# 221316 , Reply# 20   3/1/2013 at 16:22 (3,070 days old) by nubz3760 ()        
height adjustment

did the vacuette have a height adjustment? my 1925 Cleveland suction cleaner doesn't, which makes it very difficult to push on carpet.

Post# 221320 , Reply# 21   3/1/2013 at 16:33 (3,070 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Worm gear

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A closer look at the worm-drive and fan.

Post# 221332 , Reply# 22   3/1/2013 at 17:30 (3,070 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Thanks cb123 this is awesome.

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Are my eyes playing tricks? Do I see a non electric pumper called either the Cyclone or the Ideal? I have a Cyclone, but it's not in that good a condition.

While I love both Electrolux and Kirby, my first love are the non electric one, or two person pumpers.

Yes, James B. Kirby did have a hand in the Frantz Premier! He was close friends with the Frantz brothers, they helped him with a few of his designes. Jim Kirby was also friends with three other men who went on to achieve greatness. Sorry, I don't have first names here, but they were Mr. Black, Mr. Decker. and Mr. Lamb. The first two would leave vacuum cleaners and form The Black & Decker power tool company, the last man went on to give us the Lamb motor.

As for the paperwork on the Vacuette, thank you from the bottom of my heart, I've never seen any of this and I'll treasure it.

Here's a picture of my Cyclone, and a few of my other non electric pumpers. The double cylender one is called The Dust Killer, it was first sold in 1909.

Post# 221345 , Reply# 23   3/1/2013 at 18:47 (3,070 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        

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The Dust Killer was the first vacuum offered by Sear Roebuck and Co. THAT was a few years ago!

Post# 221354 , Reply# 24   3/1/2013 at 19:45 (3,069 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
That's right John,

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and as I recall you did an awesome history on the Sears catalog. At the meeting in Naperville you wouldn't let me see it before the presentation because you had the ad for the Dust Killer and the Eckhardt, which you knew I also had. I remember your grin when you showed all of us that page. That was a fun meeting, and as I recall, that meeting was in the club museum that had once been my garage. I'd love to have you share that report with the club, I think a number of members would love to see it.

Thanks for sharing.

Here is the Eckhardt.

Post# 221355 , Reply# 25   3/1/2013 at 19:49 (3,069 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Another view of the

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Post# 221379 , Reply# 26   3/1/2013 at 23:35 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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I'm glad that you liked the pamphlet, and by the way, that's one fantastic collection of vintage vacuums. Thanks, for the photos. Yes, it is a cyclone, and I believe its date of manufactory was in the 1890's, or so I think. Also, thanks, for the compliment on the hose tree. I like to do a little carpentry on the side, and that was a good name you came up with ( hose tree ) and that's what it will be called from now on.

Post# 221385 , Reply# 27   3/2/2013 at 00:09 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
The Hose tree

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Here's a better picture.

Post# 221386 , Reply# 28   3/2/2013 at 00:42 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
eureka junior

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This is a 1931 eureka junior model H on a wooden base. I think this went with a eureka model K upright. I believe you had the option to buy the hand held unit for $16.50 or the accessories for $8.50. The upright by itself was $59.00.

Post# 221389 , Reply# 29   3/2/2013 at 00:58 (3,069 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

Calem, how many of those vacuettes do you have? Are they all functional?

Post# 221396 , Reply# 30   3/2/2013 at 01:48 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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Hello, I have two wireless vacuettes and one vacuette elec. The oldest one is the wireless vacuette with the black bag with the elec. tower. The one with the green bag is a 1921 vacuette special. The one next to the wireless vacuette in the cabinet is scott and fetzer's first elec. vacuum(1925). These three are the very best of my collection, and are in good working order. You should keep an eye out on ebay in the vitage kirby vacuum section, because, I got the green vacuette for $64.00, and it was one frozed up train wreck of a mess, but praise the Lord I got it fixed. Also, look in the antique vacuum cleaner section, you never know.

Post# 221400 , Reply# 31   3/2/2013 at 01:51 (3,069 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

I have seen a few, but they always come around when I'm broke :-$ The big problem is, i want one thats nearly perfect and I'm just expecting too much

Post# 221412 , Reply# 32   3/2/2013 at 02:19 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
vacuette repair

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The $64 ebay finds bag had large holes all through it and it had not a tread of rubber on its wheels. This is how you fix the wheels. You turn kirby belts inside out and stretch two of them around each wheel. Good looking repair. Then use rit dye to color the canvas patch you cut to size and use a good amount of liquid stitch to permanently glue together. It's good stuff.

Post# 221413 , Reply# 33   3/2/2013 at 02:21 (3,069 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

you are the guy who bought that vacuette! I thought about bidding, but I had no idea how to fix the wheels

Post# 221414 , Reply# 34   3/2/2013 at 02:23 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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I'm sorry.

Post# 221415 , Reply# 35   3/2/2013 at 02:26 (3,069 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

thats ok, at least it got the love it deserves. I would have been in over my head thats why I didnt bid

Post# 221416 , Reply# 36   3/2/2013 at 02:27 (3,069 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

do you ever use your vacuettes? you should post a video of one vacuuming up something if you wouldnt mind :-)

Post# 221417 , Reply# 37   3/2/2013 at 02:28 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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Never sell youself short.

Post# 221418 , Reply# 38   3/2/2013 at 02:32 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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Don't have that kind of camera.

Post# 221420 , Reply# 39   3/2/2013 at 02:42 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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There was a old Kirby repair man in the town that I live in and he had a lot of old machines. Some right up you ally. I'm trying to get over there and when I do, I will get you one.

Post# 221421 , Reply# 40   3/2/2013 at 02:42 (3,069 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

thats a shame, I really want to see one being used fot its intended purpose. I've only ever seen a video of one inflating the bag and that was all I saw...I want to see more.. hah

Post# 221422 , Reply# 41   3/2/2013 at 02:44 (3,069 days old) by nubz3760 ()        
That would be awesome!

I've wanted a vacuette since the first time I realized it kept working after pushing it. Its just so amazing that something so simple could work so well. even people who arent into vacuums can appreciate a wireless vacuette

Post# 221423 , Reply# 42   3/2/2013 at 02:47 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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I know how it is wanting one.

Post# 221426 , Reply# 43   3/2/2013 at 02:54 (3,069 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

I wish I knew how it was owning one haha

Post# 221429 , Reply# 44   3/2/2013 at 03:01 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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Lets see what we can do.

Post# 221430 , Reply# 45   3/2/2013 at 03:03 (3,069 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

I would be forever grateful O:-)

Post# 221431 , Reply# 46   3/2/2013 at 03:13 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

cb123's profile picture
I will make all attempts in earnest. It could take a little while, but I will keep you posted.

Post# 221432 , Reply# 47   3/2/2013 at 03:15 (3,069 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

Ok thank you very much. in case I don't see you on here, you can email me. but it's 4:15 here, im going to bed.

Thanks again!

Post# 221544 , Reply# 48   3/2/2013 at 18:38 (3,069 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Hoover junior upright 1910-1916

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Does anyone have historical information, and or photos pertaining to the Hoover junior? Any information would be useful and appreciated.

Post# 221556 , Reply# 49   3/2/2013 at 19:35 (3,068 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi cb123.

caligula's profile picture
I love that toy Kirby Grasshopper.

Where did you ever find toy vacuum cleaners? Could you post pictures of the toy Grasshopper and others.



Post# 221558 , Reply# 50   3/2/2013 at 19:45 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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Thank you, I made it. It's on ebay right now in kirby vintage vacuum cleaner section. I think it's going to end in about two hours.

Post# 221587 , Reply# 51   3/3/2013 at 00:23 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Photo of Ezee model

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The Ezee.

Post# 221588 , Reply# 52   3/3/2013 at 00:30 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Kirby pin

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1930's or 40's

Post# 221590 , Reply# 53   3/3/2013 at 00:43 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Kirby car

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1949 mercury with Kirby 509 logo.

Post# 221596 , Reply# 54   3/3/2013 at 01:11 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Vacuette bag

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A close up on the bag.

Post# 221600 , Reply# 55   3/3/2013 at 01:38 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Two vacuettes

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The one on the left is a 1925 vacuette elec. with a most unusual bag. I've not seen it on another.

Post# 221602 , Reply# 56   3/3/2013 at 01:47 (3,068 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

I just love that wireless vacuette! I am very into machanics and how things work, thats the whole reason I got into vacuumms. Thats why I mainly collect all metal machines

Post# 221603 , Reply# 57   3/3/2013 at 01:47 (3,068 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

btw, did you polish those yourself or did you have a professional do it?

Post# 221604 , Reply# 58   3/3/2013 at 02:00 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Vacuette elec.

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Writing is in a calligraphy style.

Post# 221605 , Reply# 59   3/3/2013 at 02:06 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
About polish

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To scared to polish them on my machine, so I polished them by hand. It's to easy to hit the tag with all of them curves. It will drag the buffing wheel right into them.

Post# 221606 , Reply# 60   3/3/2013 at 02:08 (3,068 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

I use dremel with a buffing wheel on my royals. it makes it easier to get into tight places

Post# 221607 , Reply# 61   3/3/2013 at 02:11 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
About buffing

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What is dremel?

Post# 221611 , Reply# 62   3/3/2013 at 02:42 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Vacuette fan

cb123's profile picture
Sadly, this is from a broken, new wireless vacuette fan, which was replaced with a Hoover model 28, that I got for a friend.

Post# 221614 , Reply# 63   3/3/2013 at 02:57 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Backside of fan

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...and rather heavy too. Notice the water line.

Post# 221616 , Reply# 64   3/3/2013 at 03:31 (3,068 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Oil can

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Scott & Fetzer sanitation oil can (1928).

Post# 221620 , Reply# 65   3/3/2013 at 06:46 (3,068 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi cb123.

caligula's profile picture
This is truly awesome!

And I thought I knew a lot about Kirby, both the man and his machines, but I'm absolutely blown away, thanks for posting this.

While I've seen pictures of the Ezee, which I knew as the Grasshopper, I never got a chance to see one up close. And that Vacuette Electric, amazing!

As you have a lot rare Kirby memorabilia I have to ask if you were a dealer, distributor, or otherwise involved with the inner workings of Kirby and or Scott & Fetzer? And speaking of Kirby memorabilia, I'm wondering if you've read the pamphlet about Jim Kirby by Lowell Thomas? That of course is "The Man Who Revolutionized The American Home," It was through that pamphlet that I first learned the background on James B. Kirby.

As he was a very private man, I know absolutely nothing about his personal life. I think he was married, but when, to whom and the dates are not known, nor if he had any children/grandchildren.

You've set in motion a whole slew of questions. As a former Kirby training manager, and Kirby historian I'm completely overwhelmed with all this. As a man who loves to research the one and two person pumpers, hand crank, and other non electric's, I think you can provide a lot of information that I've missed over the years.

Once again thanks for letting me see a side of Kirby that I never knew.

Alex Taber.

Post# 221625 , Reply# 66   3/3/2013 at 07:49 (3,068 days old) by Oreck_XL (Brooklyn, New York 11211)        

oreck_xl's profile picture
Does anybody out there have a full-size Eeze, or for that matter an Aer-Rotor? And what was the purpose of the Kirby Utility? Was it simply a hand vacuum or did it convert to other things like its upright kin? I know anything pre-war Kirby is highly collectible.

- Hershel

Post# 221691 , Reply# 67   3/3/2013 at 20:34 (3,067 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
James Kirby- The early years

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James was born in Richfield, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland. In his early teens, not more than 13 he was hailed as another Edison, and henceforth he was dubbed the (Wizard of the west-side) by the national press. Because, by this time he was indeed a wizard when it came to all things mechanical. By 1900 James found himself the soul proprietor of a inconsequential engine shop- in the before mentioned town, and some 6 years later he witnessed a clunker of a cleaner truck vacuuming carpets of his poor and put out neighbor- and at once, after he studied the mechanism, he thought to himself, that he indeed could refine the bulky 10 ton beast into something much smaller and dexteritous- nimble around corners, and thus was born the "garbage can" type vacuum cleaner. I'll write more latter.

Post# 221693 , Reply# 68   3/3/2013 at 21:01 (3,067 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
James Kirby

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James Kirby

Post# 221694 , Reply# 69   3/3/2013 at 21:02 (3,067 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

calem, I dont really know how to describe a dremel. its like an air tool, but electric. its handheld and can take cutting, grinding, sanding, and buffing bits. kinda of like the flex shaft on a handi-butler

Post# 221709 , Reply# 70   3/3/2013 at 22:16 (3,067 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi cb123

caligula's profile picture
Thanks for the enlarged picture of James B. Kirby. The information you provided I already knew, in fact I've written an 8 page bio on Jim Kirby, but what I don't know is his personal life. Wife, children and so on. As far as I know he was born in September 1885, and died in June of 1971. I also knew and wrote about his interest with the massive carpet cleaning machine that had hoses snaked through the house.

I have a book on the history of Cleveland, Ohio. Both Jim Kirby as well as Scott & Fetzer, but nothing on Mr. Kirby's wife and kids.

Thanks for sharing.


Post# 221711 , Reply# 71   3/3/2013 at 22:18 (3,067 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi cb123.

caligula's profile picture
James B. Kirby was of Scottish background as am I.

Post# 221725 , Reply# 72   3/4/2013 at 02:14 (3,067 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Nice1925 Cleveland

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Nick, Thanks, for the information on the mini buffer; and by the way that's the oldest Cleveland I believe I've ever seen. It looks to be in superb condition too. The logo on the kirby looks like a 3R- a 1939 upright, and that's a rare bird by any standard.

Post# 221727 , Reply# 73   3/4/2013 at 03:28 (3,067 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
50's Kirby songs

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Alex and Nick, here's some Kirby salesmen songs from 1956. The year of Kirby's 50th anniversary of Jim's cyclone, and at the time the 516 was the thing to buy.

Post# 221728 , Reply# 74   3/4/2013 at 03:55 (3,067 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Kirby 516

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The incomparable 516!

Post# 221735 , Reply# 75   3/4/2013 at 09:02 (3,067 days old) by nubz3760 ()        

Its the only cleveland I've ever seen! Do you have any more info on it?

Post# 221755 , Reply# 76   3/4/2013 at 11:43 (3,067 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi cb123

caligula's profile picture
That Kirby 516 is what I have now, but with a replacement bag. The bag on mine is beige with little Kirby logo's in red. I've seen this print in brown, and green, but I'm not sure if it's authentic Kirby or not. Actually, I've got a 517 but other than the bag, is exactly the same.

That Kirby is showing signs of age, the rubber gaskets in the sani-em-tor, and the dirt tray are both baddly worn, handle spring is sprung, light bulb is out, the bearings are almost shot, and the power switch tends to stick. Also, I didn't bring the hose or attatchments, so it's just the basic upright. All of these are minor repairs of course, but I can't justify the cost, especially as live in the back hills of Pa., and the nearest vacuum cleaner shop 60 miles away! There's a club member who's selling his Kirby Classic 111, and it has all the bells and whisles, so I'm leaving the 516 alone and getting the Classic 111.

As for those Kirby songs, I know them well! Several weeks ago there was a thread 'Does anyone own or work in a vacuum shop?' I contributed a lot of posts to that thread, telling some of my adventures as a Kirby training manager. The songs posted here were some of the ones I sang daily at sales meetings. It was nice to see a page from that song book again.

Post# 221886 , Reply# 77   3/5/2013 at 01:15 (3,066 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

cb123's profile picture
Alex, I was never affiliated with the vacuum cleaner industry, I just admire the Kirby's form and function. I also see a lot of other vintage vacuums in the same light. They or not only fascinating, but beautiful in design. I wish I could answer deeper question about Kirby's past, because, I do not really know. We've probably read all the same limited books. A thought has accrued to me, perhaps with you. Just maybe you could check for marriage certificates or know someone from that state that could check. They should be public domain and available, even back to that era, or the newspaper's marriage announcements- if it still exists. Death announcements could also glean important information.

Post# 221887 , Reply# 78   3/5/2013 at 02:07 (3,066 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

The Dremal tool is a high speed,hand held electric hand grinder that can be used for other jobs besides hand and die grinding.The device was invented by a Mr Dremel-now the name,patents are owned by Emerson-Skil tools.The tool is really nothing more than a small universal motor with a chuck or collet on it to hold the various tools used with the machine.They are handy-just about any tool user has one.You can still get them-and in kits-from Lowes,Home Depot,and other places that sell tools.Ad yes-a flexible shaft is available for a Dremel too to convert it to a flexible shaft machine.You can hang the motor at your bench or work area and chuck the worktool in the handpeice and use it that way-good for tight places where it would be hard to get the hand held motor tool in-We use them out here for filing arc marks and holes out of the parts in our transmitters.Does the job quickly and better than hand held files or sanders.And other power tool makers build tools similar to Dremels-it all boils down too-generically the device is a hand held die grinder.Highly recommended for working on vacuums and other work.
A bizarre use for the Dremel tool motor-for lab work they are used to power homogenizers-a device for grinding animal,plant,human tissue samples for lab testing.Lab,science, suppliers sell this version.

Post# 221906 , Reply# 79   3/5/2013 at 08:48 (3,066 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi cb123

caligula's profile picture
Thank you for the input.

Being a man who was part of the Kitby team I learned a lot about the company, but Kirby, like Electrolux tended to be interested in the future not the past. The only mention of Kirby history was in the front talk, as we were trying to assure the prospect that we wre a reputable company. As for Kirby history, that was my interest.

As for the sources youve mentioned, I've already tried that as well as as I'm deeply involved with my own family tree. There is absolutly nothing on James B. Kirby, as for the B. that stands for Blain, his mothers maiden name. His parents were Scottish, as my grandparents were and mother is, so I've tried that too, nothing!!!

If you learn anything please let me know, and yes, I'll follow any lead.

If you would like my history of Kirby let me know, and I'll get it to you.


Post# 221993 , Reply# 80   3/5/2013 at 17:46 (3,066 days old) by KC_Kirby (Kansas City, MO)        

Calem, I have a Kirby Utility. It is mainly a hand vac but converts to a demother/insecticide sprayer. It's a rather odd setup for a handvac. Here is a link to the thread I posted right after I got it. I also just found a copy of that book by Thomas Lowell Alex mentioned. I didn't even know it existed until I visited Bill Edstrom and saw his. I think Bill looked a long time to find his, I just happened to run into mine by accident on Amazon.

Post# 222003 , Reply# 81   3/5/2013 at 18:27 (3,066 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi KC Kirby

caligula's profile picture
Not only have I seen this Kirby, but gave it a personal vote, as 'Founders choice' at the 25th anual convention.

That is indeed one awesome Kirby, and if I'm correct, was the first to feature the Sani-en-tor, that went on to be used with the Kirby 1-C.

I told you in person, and I say it again here, "that is the finest Kirby I've ever seen.

Alex Taber.

Post# 222046 , Reply# 82   3/5/2013 at 22:20 (3,065 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Cleveland vacuum

cb123's profile picture
Sorry, I can't find any information for you. The only one I ever seen other than yous was on ebay, and it was a 1935. It looked like a Hoover 700. I wish I could have been more help.

Post# 222051 , Reply# 83   3/5/2013 at 22:36 (3,065 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
KC Kirby

cb123's profile picture
That is a most excellent 2-R, and the Kirby Utility is simply stunning !

Post# 222669 , Reply# 84   3/9/2013 at 03:24 (3,062 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
A vacuette reborn

cb123's profile picture
This was a vacuette I found on ebay for a friend of mine. Its bag was originally supposed to be white (on the 1920 model), but it was spray painted green and had numerous holes through out. All of the rubber was gone from the wheels, and most sadly of all - two of the flanges on the worm gear box was sheered completely off! It took a little rubber and dye and two scraps of aluminum, and a rather large canvas patch, and a few other particulars - not to mention. It was a real mess, but if you keep working at it and don't give up - you can get it done, and that's a fact.

Post# 222671 , Reply# 85   3/9/2013 at 03:50 (3,062 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Vacuette's underside

cb123's profile picture
Unsightly, broken flanges are concealed under the tin - out of sight and out of mind. Well, almost out of mind.

Post# 261034 , Reply# 86   12/28/2013 at 14:13 (2,768 days old) by kobedozer ()        

I have a non electric vacuette I would be willing to part with if your still looking, let me know and i can send some pix

Post# 261041 , Reply# 87   12/28/2013 at 15:41 (2,768 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi kobedozer.

caligula's profile picture

Yes, I'm interested, please post pictures so I can see it and a ballpark price.



Alex Taber.

Post# 261205 , Reply# 88   12/30/2013 at 15:12 (2,766 days old) by kobedozer ()        

After pulling it out of storage i realised its not actually a vacuette but a "kwick-kleen" made by standard vacuum cleaner mfg. Co for sears roebuck co. Sorry for the confusion its been packed up for nearly ten years and i guess i confused it with my vacuette electric model

Post# 261208 , Reply# 89   12/30/2013 at 15:41 (2,766 days old) by kobedozer ()        
more pix

The badge

Post# 261236 , Reply# 90   12/30/2013 at 17:20 (2,766 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)        
Hi kobedozer.

caligula's profile picture

While it's not in the frame of this picture, I had one of those when I lived in Naperville, Illinois.


From August 1985, to May of 95, my house was the headquarters for the V.C.C.C. I made my personal collection, the official collection of the club, and turned my three car garage into the club museum. As I recall, a club member, named, Dave Watters, fell in love with it and I gave it to him at our annual meeting in May of 93.


As for the Kwick-Kleen, it was indeed a James B. Kirby design and was made by Scott/Fetzer, much like RCA whirlpool made the Kenmore machines like the whisper tone series in the 60's.  And I'm still interested.


Alex Taber.

Post# 261388 , Reply# 91   1/1/2014 at 00:48 (2,764 days old) by kobedozer ()        
kwick kleen

Here is the underside, its not perfect but not bad, it is functional and has no holes in the bag that i have found, also sorry about the sideways pix im doing this from my phone and dont know how to fix that

Post# 261389 , Reply# 92   1/1/2014 at 00:59 (2,764 days old) by kobedozer ()        
kwick kleen

Here is a full view, I was Hoping You Could Make An Offer If Your Still Interested, but I Could Come Up With Something Negotiable If You Would Prefer

Post# 261450 , Reply# 93   1/1/2014 at 13:13 (2,764 days old) by a007kirbyman (--->> Originally My Mom <<--- (now Wisconsin))        
kobedozer (Dylan) & Kwick-Kleen/Vacuette...

a007kirbyman's profile picture
Hello Dylan.

I emailed you a couple of days ago regarding this posting. I thought I would reply here now also, as you may not check emails frequently.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated reply.

Cheers & hagd/n all,



Post# 329264 , Reply# 94   7/14/2015 at 15:46 (2,205 days old) by charleskirby66 (Manteca, CA)        
Hey @CB123

charleskirby66's profile picture
Your collection is AMAZING! WOW! From your vintage non-electric vacuums, to miniature Ezee, to Kirby pins, to the Kirby pamphlets, to Kirby paraphernalia, to the Franz premier, to the hose tree... WOW! Awesome!

You recently gave me a bit of help on my G3 restoration. THANK YOU! Worked like a charm and that G3 has gone to an ecstatically happy home.

Now, I wonder if I might beg of you for some of your good jujus. I really want an Ezee, Wireless Vac-u-ette, Scott Fetzer Sanitation System, and Kirby 1, 2, or 3, R or C. If you can send a little of that good luck and good karma my way, maybe these machines will find their way into my collection soon! LOL

Love this thread and the fraternal sharing of information. Bravo guys!

Post# 329367 , Reply# 95   7/15/2015 at 21:54 (2,203 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

cb123's profile picture
I'm glad I was of some help. May all the Kirby Karma come your way, so as you can attain the Seventh Kirby Chakra and thus release the Great Kirby Kundalini and achieve the heavenly bliss of The Great Kirby Nirvana! God's speed and many blessings! May you get all of your dream machines, it sounds like they will receive a wonderful home! Thanks again for the reply!

Post# 329402 , Reply# 96   7/16/2015 at 10:54 (2,203 days old) by Kirbysthebest (Midwest)        

I hope this question doesn't hijack too much, since it is an older thread I'm going to give it a shot.

What ever happened to the Kirby Domestic Cyclone design that used water filtration? Did it use a separator like Rexair? I have only heard it mentioned briefly in history of Kirby, and History of vacuum cleaners.

Anyone have knowledge?

Post# 329529 , Reply# 97   7/17/2015 at 21:41 (2,201 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

cb123's profile picture
That's a very good question!

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