Thread Number: 36654  /  Tag: Pre-1950 Vacuum Cleaners
Improved Wardway
[Down to Last]

Vacuumland's exclusive eBay Watch:
scroll >>> for more items
Post# 392329   5/25/2018 at 17:06 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
Here is an "Improved Wardway" I found at an auction several years ago. I've not seen one like it before or since but I'm sure someone here has? Makes me think of an Apex because of the rotary switch on the top of the handle

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 5         View Full Size

Post# 392341 , Reply# 1   5/25/2018 at 23:09 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
Wow that looks pretty old.

Is Wardway its own brand? Cuz it sounds like Montgomery Ward's knockoff name of Airway or something lol

Can we get a shot of the model plate?

Post# 392345 , Reply# 2   5/26/2018 at 00:36 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size
Post# 392347 , Reply# 3   5/26/2018 at 01:07 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
thanks for your reply- I never got any from the messages I posted lately on stuff. I thought my posts were going un noticed

Post# 392350 , Reply# 4   5/26/2018 at 02:41 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        

huskyvacs's profile picture
I found some information online about Wardway. Not this particular model, but the brand in generic. This appears to be a 1932 model so yours might be newer since it states it is "improved".

"This will give you an idea of the competition for the Hoover 541 -- this is the "Wardway" economy model offered by Montgomery Wards. The vacuum sold for $29.95, but could be had in monthly installments of $5.00 ("6 easy payments" in the language of today's infomercials...) It is of some note that the Wards model was offered in a DC version. As noted in our Energy Page, many farms used wind or combustion engines to generate DC power."


Note that yours lists DC power as well, but optionally 25-60 cycle AC current. I have this problem with antique vacuums I have too. I don't know if you can safely plug them into your modern wall outlet without needing a step-down voltage regulator or anything where you can dial up a voltage so you don't overload and cook the motor. I asked around on electrical sites but never got an answer.

  View Full Size
Post# 392351 , Reply# 5   5/26/2018 at 05:32 by fantomfan57 (Central Texas)        

I know what you mean.

Thanks for posting.

Post# 392360 , Reply# 6   5/26/2018 at 10:09 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
several years ago I actually got feedback about pics I would post. I'm glad MadMan, you and Fantonfan57 have noticed me and taken some interest. Maybe I will post some more of my stuff. would you be interested in seeing?

Post# 392388 , Reply# 7   5/26/2018 at 21:21 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
"this is the "Wardway" economy model offered by Montgomery Wards."


So there was such a thing as a farm lighting plant that made 32 volts. You learn something new every day.

Husky, what are you asking about exactly? If a motor says 110 volts and 60 cycles, it's good to go on modern 120VAC electric supply. It's usually 120 volts now, but the difference is, what, only 10% more? That's nothing. Especially for a hardy old motor. Vacuums usually use universal motors, aka AC/DC. They work on either. (Not that you'd have DC going into your house anymore...) Although interestingly, I'm pretty sure the ordinary DC supply of eons ago would've been 100 volts, not 110, but I could be mistaken. They might have increased it to 110 later.

If you're legit scared to plug in an old vac, get yourself a variac. Set the voltage to what the motor asks for and turn it up to 120 and see how it reacts. But yeah, it should be no problem.

jrdavis, I enjoy looking at this old crap, otherwise I wouldn't be here. I'm pretty sure most folks here are of the same inclination, but I think they're not all that inclined to actually post a reply unless they have something to say besides 'ooh and ahh.' idk

Post# 392393 , Reply# 8   5/26/2018 at 23:07 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
ok cool. I have plugged this in and it runs good. I havent been able to really do much but listen to it run because the bag wont stay on and the left front wheel is frozen to the axle.

Post# 392424 , Reply# 9   5/28/2018 at 02:28 by huskyvacs (Northern Indiana)        
@ MadMan

huskyvacs's profile picture
Thanks. I meant that because they were made for such low voltage back then, would they be able to handle current flow today.

Also yes, most farms had some form of windmill that made power, or a hit and miss kerosene powered engine in the basement that would act as a generator and recharge a series of glass-filled battery jars neatly arranged on a rack in a series to make one giant power pack. This was before most of america's rural infrastructure was built and most farms did not see a power grid until the 1930's.

Here's a video of what this would look like set up, but keep in mind this would be mounted permanently in the basement and not on a cart. The owner also added a few bits and bobs to illustrate how it works.

Post# 392425 , Reply# 10   5/28/2018 at 06:12 by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

As a child I remember the "remains" of a 32V system that provided 32V DC power to an island camp are on Lake Winnepasaki in New Hampshire.My Mom used to own a camp cottage there . Her father owned a cottage there as well as some of the friends did,too.The remains I saw were just the generator-the engine and batteries were gone.The place was overgrown with weeds.My Mom and her father remember when it was used.My Mom was a little girl then.At the cottage they had 32V light bulbs(When redoing the wiring there for 120V found one of those 32V bulbs and tried it on 120V FLASHBULB!!)I saved some of the other bulbs but they got lost over time.Mom also had a 32V sewing machine and vacuum cleaner.Those got lost over time as well.The cottage got sold when I was grown up.Was fun to spend the summer there and explore the island.A good friend of my Mom-we called him Uncle Lester He gave us rides on his beautiful Wooden Chris-Craft speedboat.My brothers also water skied behind it.

Post# 392433 , Reply# 11   5/28/2018 at 12:30 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
awesome video husky(may I call you husky or do you prefer huskyvacs? and I also really enjoy hearing(or reading rather) about cool places like the old camp and discoveries as well toli(may I call you toli or do you prefer tolivacs?) if you do decide you'd like to check out my videos of a few of my vacs on youtube, you'll also see some antique fan videos of mine and a few lawnmowers(I collect about anything old-the older the better!) my youtube name is Johnnyb59c

Post# 392464 , Reply# 12   5/29/2018 at 00:52 by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Yes,I like other old things besides vacuums-Fan,light,lawnmower videos would be interesting.Since I now live in the humid South-outdoor gear such as older mowers are VERY hard to find.and they are used until they die or corrode away to nothing.Will have to look up Johnnyb59c.Another old thing I like is old radio transmitters-the ones that date back to the "chrome&Glass"era!Love the smell and sight of "hot glass" old tubes working hard!!!

Post# 392490 , Reply# 13   5/29/2018 at 13:46 by akabent (LEFT Coast)        

I also love looking at this old stuff.  It documents the journey, the industrial evolution of the progression of vacuum cleaners.  Yep, all the way up to the disgusting, disposable plastic crap that is marketed today.


With some TLC, a little work, and some lubricants, most of these can be brought back unless the field coils or armatures or commutators are destroyed, or the carbon brushes are completely shot.  


My oldest is 101 year-old (this year) Hoover and runs like a sewing machine.  I often think what the guys who assembled it would think if they knew their work had lasted this long!  True American quality!!!


Thanks again for sharing, and for others' adding info as well.



Post# 392523 , Reply# 14   5/30/2018 at 15:48 by Hoover300 (Kentucky)        
Cool Wardway,

hoover300's profile picture
What is the machine in the background of picture 2? It looks like a Beatty cadillac.

Post# 392533 , Reply# 15   5/30/2018 at 17:42 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
it is a Beatty Cadillac(I would like to take it to the car show next year! just need a bag or find the old one. it was in a box in the garage not too long ago. I just need to find that box the first pic is from last week. the second and third is from 2009

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size
Post# 392534 , Reply# 16   5/30/2018 at 18:10 by Hoover300 (Kentucky)        

hoover300's profile picture

Post# 392546 , Reply# 17   5/30/2018 at 23:13 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
Nice. I wonder what - if any - relation there was between Beatty Cadillac and Clements Cadillac. They look close to each other, but nowhere near close enough to be sharing parts...

Post# 392549 , Reply# 18   5/30/2018 at 23:26 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
not sure but I think mine may be a Clements Cadillac not sure- I was just going by what was mentioned earlier. I remember seeing and ad once that mentioned "1927 Ball-Bearing Cadillac" I saw some pics of a Beatty Cadillac looked like my Cadillac but the handle looked different. Looked like it had more of a curve at the top and looked like chrome steel and mine is wood with aluminum and a push button switch. That and the dust bag on mine was brown and had Ball Bearing Cadillac painted in red lettering on front and back

Post# 392552 , Reply# 19   5/30/2018 at 23:41 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
ok mine is a Clements

  View Full Size
Post# 392598 , Reply# 20   5/31/2018 at 22:47 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
Well that's... peculiar. I was thinking I had my Cadillacs down to a tee. Old boy Clements had a LOT of different vac designs. I guess it kinda strikes me as odd, why this one has ball bearings (or so the bag claims) and it's much earlier than mine, which has plain bearings. And then later Caddy's went back to ball bearing. It's not the war... cuz mine is prewar. idk. Any chance I could get a closeup of the center cap/ belt cover thingy? I'm missing mine and I'm kinda trying to figure what it's supposed to look like.

Post# 392600 , Reply# 21   5/31/2018 at 22:59 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
I think this is also where the hose goes

  View Full Size
Post# 392633 , Reply# 22   6/1/2018 at 14:16 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
can I see a pic of your Cadillac?

Post# 392677 , Reply# 23   6/1/2018 at 23:51 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
Apparently the thread I made got archived. youtube link below. I'm midway through a total restoration. The vac is literally in 20 pieces split between my house and my shop.


Post# 392693 , Reply# 24   6/2/2018 at 10:52 by jrdavis (oklahoma)        

jrdavis's profile picture
yours is a few years newer than mine. strange yours has the old bushing style bearings. a Royal I have has those style bearings

Forum Index:       Other Forums:                      

Comes to the Rescue!

Woops, Time to Check the Bag!!!
Either you need to change your vacuum bag or you forgot to LOG-IN?

Discuss-O-MAT Log-In

New Members
Click Here To Sign Up.

Discuss-o-Mat Forums
Vintage Brochures, Service and Owners Manuals
Fun Vintage Washer Ephemera
See It Wash!
Video Downloads
Audio Downloads
Picture of the Day
Patent of the Day
Photos of our Collections
The Old Aberdeen Farm
Vintage Service Manuals
Vintage washer/dryer/dishwasher to sell?
Technical/service questions?
Looking for Parts?
Website related questions?
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Policy
Our Privacy Policy