Thread Number: 41870  /  Tag: Pre-1950 Vacuum Cleaners
Birtman Bee Model T Hand Suction Cleaner
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Post# 442288   5/27/2021 at 10:45 by Hoover300 (Kentucky)        

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Soooo apparently Birtman made a bellows sweeper! Its pretty odd looking too.

Post# 442309 , Reply# 1   5/28/2021 at 01:02 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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You know... so many of those sweepers look the same. I really really think most of them were made by a few companies and rebadged for electric vacuum manufacturers. And if you think about it for a second, it makes sense. A manufacturer set up for casting and polishing aluminum, and building electric motors wouldn't be equipped to build wooden boxes with leather bellows. Actually, now that I think about it, a music box or player piano company would be much more suited to that. The bellows setup looks identical to some old timey player pianos.

Post# 442313 , Reply# 2   5/28/2021 at 02:21 by huskyvacs (Indiana)        

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More of the reason why they looked the same is most likely due to the fact that there was no patent or copyright protection against it. The mechanisms perhaps, but not the body shape. They just followed the same general style because the other guy was selling his, so why not copy or try and improve his design and sell that too?

If they were in fact made to order and rebranded for other companies, it was likely Bisell doing it (notice the owner and donator of this Bee Vac is Biseell) because Bisell had an enormous factory that was more than ample enough to have multiple manufacturing lines going on at the same time.

This model likely did not last long at all, unless it was a prototype, because I am sure Henry Ford was not happy they named it the "Model T".

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Post# 442354 , Reply# 3   5/29/2021 at 00:24 by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

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Ford wasn't happy about a lot of things. Like paying many millions of dollars in owed dividends to the red-headed Dodge brothers who were almost solely responsible for his wealth and success.

But he ending up paying them anyway lol they won the court case.

Post# 442360 , Reply# 4   5/29/2021 at 09:30 by dysonman1 (the county)        

Bissell private labeled sweepers for almost anyone who could afford a few pallets of them. Birtman ELECTRIC would not have made wooden sweepers, but would have offered one along with their other models of upright and hand held electric cleaners. Birtman themselves were huge private labelers, with most of their output labeled Energex (then Kenmore) for Sears.

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