Thread Number: 19929
Early, Kirby 508
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Post# 223009   3/10/2013 at 23:57 (2,539 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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This (1948) kirby 508, most thankfully did not fall victim to the rebuild program. The 508 was more in style with the 505 in design and use of materials. All the rubber was grey instead of black, and it also lacked a perfume port. The belt lefter is red and white, and embossed with James Kirby's signature - just like the 505 and all of the C series. These are the only ones which bore Kirby's actual signature, before the western look with the 509.

Post# 223010 , Reply# 1   3/11/2013 at 00:05 (2,539 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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Post# 223011 , Reply# 2   3/11/2013 at 00:13 (2,539 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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Post# 223013 , Reply# 3   3/11/2013 at 00:20 (2,539 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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Post# 223019 , Reply# 4   3/11/2013 at 00:32 (2,539 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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Post# 223021 , Reply# 5   3/11/2013 at 00:50 (2,539 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
508 Pick#6

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The floor polisher belongs to a 512. I think the 508 floor polisher was a special order item at the time. All other attachments and hose are original to the unit.

Post# 223023 , Reply# 6   3/11/2013 at 01:19 (2,539 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
505 to 508 Pamphlet (Pick#7)

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This is the 505 to 508 floor polisher pamphlet. View is front side up.

Post# 223025 , Reply# 7   3/11/2013 at 01:39 (2,539 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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This is the pamphlet's reverse.

Post# 223026 , Reply# 8   3/11/2013 at 02:18 (2,538 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Pick#9 hand grip

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When I got the 508 its rubber hand grip resembled a piece of dried, cracked charcoal with many missing segments. I believe at the time they must have not used enough sulfur to vulcanize the rubber. So, I revitalized the rubber with a tub of windshield gasket repair - using my finger. (VERY MESSY) It took several coats, but well worth it.

Post# 223027 , Reply# 9   3/11/2013 at 02:23 (2,538 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Post your kirby photos

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Please, post your favorite Kirby photos too. I would really like to see them.

Post# 223052 , Reply# 10   3/11/2013 at 08:11 (2,538 days old) by Vinvac (Dubuque IA)        

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That was my mothers vacuum and I still have it. However it has been rebuilt three times.

That is how I remember the vacuum as a child..


Post# 223169 , Reply# 11   3/11/2013 at 18:14 (2,538 days old) by vacuumman206 ()        

I not long ago picked up a 515 that at a very quick glance I mistook for a sanitronic VII, along with 3 other kirbys and 3 royals for $100. I intended to resell all the machines to make a profit, but upon really liking one of the royals and seeing this Kirby was a 515 not a sanitronic, I couldn't help myself but to clean it up and keep it for myself (for now). The bag was rather dirty inside but came clean and polished up really nice and easily compared to all the Kirbys I've polished before. Unfortunately I'm sure it can be seen it doesn't have the proper cord. No biggie to me. Probably the only Kirby I've gotten so far that doesn't have bearings on their way out!

Post# 223170 , Reply# 12   3/11/2013 at 18:20 (2,538 days old) by vacuumman206 ()        
more kirbys

I've also got my 2 ds50s, sanitronic VII and my G5(sold this one, kept the other), along with my 2 ds80s not pictured. My favorites are the non-pictured DS80 and the DS50 to the right. The 80 has been a project I bought from a friend in 4th grade for $4 that I have been restoring through the years. Only need the original bag for it to be restored to full glory. The 50 was my grandma's vac that aparently has quite the story to it. She passed away in 98' and it sat in a closet for 11 years before my grandpa wanted to me to sell it, but I persuaded him to just give it to me, for we all know my grandma would be proud of me taking such good care of it, because she loved her Kirby!

Post# 223186 , Reply# 13   3/11/2013 at 18:56 (2,538 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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Bless your Grandmother's heart. I'm glad you got her D-50, it's right were it belongs. About the D-80 bag, I got a original replacement bag off ebay and it is really super nice. I just checked and there is one left for $32.90. If you decide to check it out on ebay; type in the search box ( Kirby D 80 ). The seller is Kirbyfans.

Post# 223214 , Reply# 14   3/11/2013 at 20:56 (2,538 days old) by vacuumman206 ()        

Thanks. I have been watching for bags on Ebay, but money's tight so an original bag has to wait a while. At least it's the only thing left to originalize, and that satisfies me. When I got it, it had 2 omega and ds50 wheels, a red extension cord as the cord, a busted handle, and a bent armature I didn't know about till not long ago. And all that has been fixed.So it has come a long way.

Post# 223217 , Reply# 15   3/11/2013 at 21:08 (2,538 days old) by normvac (COLUMBUS, OHIO)        

Nice meet you and love your well cared for Kirby's.
I wish I had my grandmothers 508.
Was wondering why it is that all your Kirby's are all the
way down to "0" on the carpet setting.
Accorging to the book, the carpet height adjustment should
be raised all the way to the top. For storage and after
each vacuuming. So the head comes off easier for other
attachments. Alwo making it's ready to adjust for new
cleaning jobs, as well as stress on brushes.
Just wondering.
Thanks for the pics

Post# 223344 , Reply# 16   3/12/2013 at 21:19 (2,537 days old) by vacuumman206 ()        
reply: normvac

If you're talking about the classic, 515 and G5, they were on the lowest setting because I just used them on that thin carpet, and had not yet raised them for storage. If you look at my at home kirbys, I always keep the nozzle at the highest setting because I did here about how it relieves pressure on the brushes.

Post# 223346 , Reply# 17   3/12/2013 at 21:37 (2,537 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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I do the same thing too.

Post# 225345 , Reply# 18   3/28/2013 at 00:59 (2,522 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Another Pic

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If any one has a 508, please, post some pictures. Thanks

Post# 225498 , Reply# 19   3/28/2013 at 21:42 (2,521 days old) by hygiene903 (Galion, OH)        
Nice 508, Calem!

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And since you asked, here's a pic of my Kirby lineup. Left to right, we have a 512, 517, two D-50's, D-80, Classic, and Classic III.

Post# 225501 , Reply# 20   3/28/2013 at 22:06 (2,521 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Thanks, Jeff

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Looking good, looking really good, Jeff. You have a great line up there with some mighty fine machines to top. I guess it's true, Kirby's do make the day brighter. Great photo, thanks again, Calem

Post# 225504 , Reply# 21   3/28/2013 at 22:25 (2,521 days old) by hygiene903 (Galion, OH)        

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You're Welcome, glad you enjoyed them!

Post# 226057 , Reply# 22   4/2/2013 at 03:03 (2,516 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        
Kirby 508

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Canister mode with all original attachments.

Post# 250346 , Reply# 23   9/16/2013 at 01:27 (2,350 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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This Kirby early 508 is fairly rare, and it fixed up pretty nice too! I must say it is one of my very favorite.

Post# 250358 , Reply# 24   9/16/2013 at 06:47 (2,349 days old) by Vinvac (Dubuque IA)        

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I have my mom's 508. It has been rebuild several time. Still a great vacuum.

Post# 250371 , Reply# 25   9/16/2013 at 10:38 (2,349 days old) by TASE (Colorado)        

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I'd post my favourite Kirby if only it weren't disassembled currently..

Post# 250388 , Reply# 26   9/16/2013 at 14:07 (2,349 days old) by kenkart ()        
Re Kirby as a canister..

Most people think because the suction isnt very strong, that they dont do a good job, far from it, the airflow on the Kirby is great, and for dusting etc, its the airflow that counts, not sealed suction.

Post# 250417 , Reply# 27   9/16/2013 at 20:18 (2,349 days old) by electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        

Or as Stan Kann used to say, "A vacuum cleaner only needs enough suction to get the dirt from the floor to the bag." The suction on the early Kirbys is hardly strong enough to "suck dry paint right off the wall" (where have I heard that before?!), but it's strong enough for dusting. And I love the sound of an early 500-series with the hose attached. It's downright musical!!

Post# 250423 , Reply# 28   9/16/2013 at 21:09 (2,349 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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The sound of my Classic III (or any 5 to 6 amp Kirby with a 2-speed motor), with the hose attached, however, is really powerful even to my ears... which was why I hadn't been significantly keen on them (as opposed to the metal Royals) between the ages of 9 and 29.


Post# 250434 , Reply# 29   9/17/2013 at 01:22 (2,349 days old) by Electrolux137 (Land O Plenty USA)        

Well, I wasn't talking about the Classic III but the 508 ... two completely different animals with completely different motor sound & volume.

Post# 349449 , Reply# 30   4/3/2016 at 19:44 (1,419 days old) by KirbyCollector (Columbus Ohio USA)        

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I got a 508, it's not fully original but I'm working on getting it all original

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size
Post# 349452 , Reply# 31   4/3/2016 at 19:58 (1,419 days old) by KirbyCollector (Columbus Ohio USA)        

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So far the priginal parts on it are the six blade fan, the red belt lifter with Jim Kirby's real signature engraved on it, the grey nozzle trim, the metal part of the hand grip, the grey emptor tray, the black cord isn't an original one from the 40s and is brand new but I still call it original because it's black like the original. The parts it has that's not original at the moment is the bag, the headlight trim, the wheels, the rubber sleeve on the hand grip, the sani emptor is a 1950s replacement as it has a sweet aire which first appeared on the 510 I believe. I am ok with that emptor. I have a tan 70s replacement hose for it that I use on it. That is what I have to say. Happy vacuuming

Post# 349966 , Reply# 32   4/10/2016 at 11:46 (1,412 days old) by Watsonw (Newport, Shropshire, UK)        
Early, Kirby 508.

If only they still made them like that now; they would probably sell far better over here in the UK!!!

A truly beautiful machine, l had the chance to try one (a 240 volt UK version) and it was most impressive.

Cheers, Walter, UK.

Post# 349969 , Reply# 33   4/10/2016 at 12:33 (1,412 days old) by KirbyCollector (Columbus Ohio USA)        

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Was it 240 volts? Or a 120v plugged in a transformer?

Post# 349981 , Reply# 34   4/10/2016 at 14:30 (1,412 days old) by cb123 (Mobile, Al.)        

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KirbyCollector, you really got yourself a great machine there!

Post# 350013 , Reply# 35   4/10/2016 at 17:44 (1,412 days old) by KirbyCollector (Columbus Ohio USA)        

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Thank you

I have been working on finding original parts for it. Soon it will be all original

Post# 360283 , Reply# 36   10/3/2016 at 14:24 (1,236 days old) by KirbyCollector (Columbus Ohio USA)        

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Speaking of that, anyone know how and or where I could get original 508 parts?

Post# 413016 , Reply# 37   8/22/2019 at 17:39 (183 days old) by KirbyCollector (Columbus Ohio USA)        
Three Years after my first reply, my 508 is now original!!

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Here it is with my 519 (also all original)

  View Full Size
Post# 413038 , Reply# 38   8/23/2019 at 15:29 (182 days old) by kirbyklekter (Concord,Ca.)        
So happy for you!

They look fantastic and congratulations on finding all the parts needed!

Post# 413083 , Reply# 39   8/25/2019 at 20:11 (180 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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I think that's the cream color bag I mentioned. If I'm correct you have the 508-512 darker color bag also?
The belt lifter was in immaculate condition. I'm glad to see the belt lifter fits the vacuum.
I do have pics of my model 3c and 505 headlight trim is thinner. It has a rivet on outside corner and where rivets are on outside on yours the rivet is on opposite side.
I don't know if 508s trim would be similar.
I'm envious of your bags. The 508 bag 1970 janitronic Kirby vacuette or model 1c or 2c are left on my bucket list.
It's rarest Kirby in mint condition. I did say people painted washers on wheel screws with red paint. I don't know how true but ya.
I got a classic 3 from thrift store my wife bought me. I replaced sanatronic bag with red bag with adapter. I need a sticker for the lens cover. It just needs polished up. The fan is metal bearings are solid, carbon brushes are good and brush roll is good. The lights good. The handle the plastic part on the back that holds pennies or quarters needs replaced. I also chipped the red cover by power switch. I thought I'd mention as I seen you posted a video on your channel.

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