Thread Number: 36427  /  Tag: Pre-1950 Vacuum Cleaners
Cadillac Hand Vac - Couldn't Help Myself
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Post# 390431   4/13/2018 at 00:40 (188 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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In a state of pure boredom last night, I was browsing craigslist, just for all sorts of stuff that might interest me. Well I caught site of this little bad boy here. It was about an hour away from me, but I figured, you just don't see Cadillacs too often, and it would be a nice little buddy for my upright Caddy, and roughly the same vintage. So, I couldn't help myself.

Husband and wife were selling it, apparently the lady's father passed and they were trying to get rid of his stuff, this was part of it. They asked $20, and I didn't want to beat them up over $20, so that's what I paid.

It ran ok on first test, but made a scraping sound on wind-down. I got home at 10:30pm, and put it on the work bench to admire it. Again, I couldn't help myself, so I tore it down and did a quick and dirty 'rebuild.' The blade was rubbing on the motor's front cover, the shaft had a lot of thrust play. I found it was missing a nylon thrust washer, which - who would've guessed - is identical to the ones on my big Caddy - of which I bought a 50 pack. I oiled the bearings, cleaned up the commutator a bit, and slapped it back together.

It's missing the rubber bumper around the nozzle, and a (probably) rubber foot on the bottom, because without it, it kind of rests on its cord. Speaking of, the cord looks original. It's obviously VERY old rubber, but it's surprisingly supple. Also, there's two screwholes IN the nozzle, which clearly had something attached at one point. A brush, perhaps?

Just by looking, I thought this vac was probably going to be late 20s, because it's a little bit art deco. I assume it's probably pre-1937, because it only has flat head screws, my upright has a mix (from 1938, only 1 year after phillips was available). However, on the inside of the motor front cover, the stamping says '4106' or something like that. Makes me think 1941, but then again, the model number is 41, so... And the bag logo looks nearly identical to the one in a 1948 newspaper ad, but that was a power brush model.

The first thing I checked was the condition of the inside of the fan... case? Because my upright was corroded from water. The inside is VERY badly pitted, I'm honestly a bit surprised that there's no holes visible from the outside. But the blade is nearly perfect. Also, it doesn't look like it saw much use while that thrust washer was MIA, there's only a fairly small rub mark. It did, however, rub away another stamping number. If I had to guess, it might've said '144.'

Not sure if you can tell, but the nozzle has some zebra stripes. That's old fashioned electrical tape residue. I also snapped a pic of the motor next to its bigger brother. It very much is a baby version of it.

Cadillac Model 41 Serial 9797

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Post# 390433 , Reply# 1   4/13/2018 at 08:38 (188 days old) by bikerray (Middle Earth)        

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Interesting that the hand vac has the opposite rotation from the upright vac.

Post# 390463 , Reply# 2   4/13/2018 at 21:56 (188 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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I know! I was mulling it over, and I figured it's probably so the placement of the bag would be on the right side, so while you're holding it (as most ppl are right handed) the bag won't be in your face. But then... why was the upright the other way around?

Also, I gave it a bath today, and cleaned out the bag. It seems like it was used as a shop vac, cuz it's covered in splotches of paint and varnish. There are a couple of speckles on the bag, but it's otherwise in amazing shape. Bag was filled with dog hair. I wrapped the nozzle with electrical tape, as a crude bumper, but also to cover the rivet holes for the actual bumper.

This vac should clean up nicely, but I really need to focus and finish the other one.

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Post# 390470 , Reply# 3   4/14/2018 at 08:20 (187 days old) by bikerray (Middle Earth)        

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The stick on foam weatherstrip works well as a bumper. You can get it in gray or black depending on your preference.

Post# 390484 , Reply# 4   4/14/2018 at 15:35 (187 days old) by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

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Should have put the dog hair in a museum, it might have been from an extinct breed :P

Post# 390497 , Reply# 5   4/14/2018 at 21:24 (187 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Today I thought I'd fiddle with the bag. It didn't have any kind of support to stop it from flopping around and getting kinked. I took a metal coat hanger and bent it into a supportive shape that would fit into the bag, and it had to be about 0.5 inch shorter in length of the bag, so that when it's running, it allows the bag to puff up. My first attempt looked the same as the one pictured, except the hook shape that goes into the inlet was the other way around. I found that the weight of the bag bent the J hook enough for it to dislodge from the inlet. So I reversed it.

The second pic shows the bag supporting itself.

Not sure what system this originally would've used, if anything. There's a little eyelet on the bag end clip, I might've thought that it would've had an external support arm, idk.

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