Thread Number: 36321  /  Tag: 80s/90s Vacuum Cleaners
Does Anyone Have Pictures Of The "First" Self Propelled Kirby
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Post# 389469   3/30/2018 at 15:38 (255 days old) by repairman (Stickney, IL)        

Does anyone have pictures of the "first" self-propelled Kirby that was made by Jim Keeler? From what I have heard, he took the Powerdrive wheels and handle from a Hoover Dial A Matic and made what many people called an eyesore. I have always been curious to see what this machine looked like and wanted to know if anyone had pictures they could upload. Thanks.

Post# 389485 , Reply# 1   3/30/2018 at 21:06 (255 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

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I would be VERY interested in seeing this vacuum. I, too, have heard about this vacuum but have never seen it. From what I heard, it was a Legend II or maybe a Legend/Heritage II with something like the setup you described. A long-time Kirby dealer described it to me. Apparently he had the opportunity to use it back before the G3 was created.

Incidentally, the man at my local Kirby repair center told me about a prototype Kirby that a customer brought in to his shop years ago. It was a GSix but it was RED. Apparently all the trim was red! The other notable feature was that the cord was apparently molded inside the handle, not clipped on the outside like has always been done. I told him that if he ever comes across another prototype that I would happily buy it from him.

I don't know if this would be a prototype or not, but another vacuum store in my town has a legitimate Kirby hand vac from what I would guess is the 1930's. It's a straight suction unit and is all aluminum. The fan faces the ground, like that of a Hoover convertible. It still works! I've turned it on before. The store owner will not sell it to me for any amount I can afford.

Anyways, below is a link to a thread discussing one of the prototype G3s. It is not the machine you describe but is cool nonetheless. You can catch a glimpse of more of them in the video @ 3:34, too.


Post# 389487 , Reply# 2   3/30/2018 at 22:03 (255 days old) by repairman (Stickney, IL)        

Is this what you're referring to?


Post# 389488 , Reply# 3   3/30/2018 at 22:11 (255 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

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Yep its one of those. But that one is in nicer shape.

Post# 389489 , Reply# 4   3/30/2018 at 22:11 (255 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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If you look in archives i want to say indiana a heritage 2 with tech drive. He had kirby didn't destroy. You might be referring to something else but first kirby with transmission was this heritage 2 with tech drive.

Post# 389490 , Reply# 5   3/30/2018 at 22:12 (255 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

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I remember that it had two little wheels on the back.

Post# 389491 , Reply# 6   3/30/2018 at 22:14 (255 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

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Lesinutah, have a link for us? If you wouldn't mind. Thanks.

Post# 389497 , Reply# 7   3/30/2018 at 22:59 (255 days old) by Seijun (Portland, OR)        

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The first time I used my Kirby CR1 it dragged itself across the carpet with the power of its brushroll. Does that count?

Post# 389500 , Reply# 8   3/31/2018 at 00:58 (255 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Post# 389542 , Reply# 9   3/31/2018 at 18:41 (254 days old) by Repairman (Stickney, IL)        

The machine I am referring to is NOT a prototype like the one discussed above. I am referring to a machine that some guy made in his own basement from a REGULAR Kirby Heritage II machine. As I stated before, it was an ordinary Heritage II with a HOOVER Dial A Matic Handle and Powerdrive wheels attached to the back. From what I can imagine, the thing was probably so ugly, you couldn't even give it away for free.

Post# 389616 , Reply# 10   4/2/2018 at 09:37 (252 days old) by kirbyvertibles (Independence, KS)        

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A Kirby dealer that used to have a vacuum shop in my area (now deceased) also told me when I was a kid of a Kirby that had a Hoover transmission added. Apparently he as well as many dealers saw it at a show (maybe like the VDTA?).
I have also heard that Keeler did the same thing to the Bison?

Post# 389630 , Reply# 11   4/2/2018 at 14:11 (252 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

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I'm sure Mr. Keeler would have one. If you could contact him, he may send you a picture.

Post# 389634 , Reply# 12   4/2/2018 at 14:33 (252 days old) by repairman (Stickney, IL)        
I tried that

I sent Keeler an email years ago asking him for a picture and he never replied back. The only person I could think of with an image, would be Tom Gasko because in a previous article, he stated that he owned the 1984 issue of VDTA where the conversion was pictured.

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