Thread Number: 446
Fantom Vacuums
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Post# 4214   11/18/2006 at 21:04 (4,380 days old) by dial-a-matic ()        

Anyone love them? I do even though they are bagless. I can rebember when I was little and saw the infomercials. When I went to a chatholic school,the secretary hah purchased a yellow fury and I loved it. now, eSALTON lables them under westinghouse and I may buy a refurbised one.

Post# 4231 , Reply# 1   11/19/2006 at 11:38 (4,380 days old) by myvacsrock (Dayton, OH)        

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I have a couple and i do addmit i really like um! They are getting rare!!!


Post# 4245 , Reply# 2   11/19/2006 at 14:49 (4,379 days old) by dysonman ()        

Here's the Fantom story.

(I own all the vacuums I'm writing about, and will post pics to this thread later.)

Back in 1984, James Dyson asked a manufacturer named Zanusi in Italy to make 500 vacuums that he designed. James held the patent on dual cyclonic bagless vacuums. He contracted with a company called "KleenEze" to sell the machines door to door. The cleaner was called the "Cyclon". Mine is almost unused.

The Amway Corporation's VP's were made aware of the existence of the machine, and contracted with James to license the technology. They went to England and he let them have the patents and blueprints to the machine. Amway went to Bissell in Michigan and asked them if they could make the machine. They said YES and the result was the Amway CMS 1000 (CMS stands for Carpet Maint. System).

Amway (or should I say "scamway") went BACK to England and told James they would NOT be making the cleaner, and gave him back his industrial drawings and patents. Yet, the DID come out with the machine in the U.S.

James found out about this machine AFTER he designed a new carpet shampooer for Sears, called the DryTech. This was also known as the NovaDry, which used Capture dry carpet shampoo, the machine would dispense, brush, and then vacuum with dual cyclonic suction (which never clogged). The buyers at Sears at first were delighted with the NovaDry, but soon told James that they had seen the same thing before, as an AMWAY. James was horrified. Then James sued Amway.

The settlement in the Amway case (together with a healthy bank loan) gave James the funds to begin his own manufacturing business, making cleaners under his own name.
Everywhere in the world, except North America.

In the United States and Canada, a Company called IONA made a cleaner for S C Johnson Wax, called the Vectron, which was sold as a commercial upright vacuum. James designed it, and it was a very sturdy, well built machine.

When Johnson Wax decided to abandon the commercial vacuum cleaner market two years later (1991), IONA decided to make the machine and sell it themselves through Infomercials and throush Sears stores (for which they were making James' NovaDry carpet shampooer machine). The IONA machine was called the Fantom (Thunder) and the Sears version was called the Destiny.

IONA decided to make a smaller version, lighter in weight than the Thunder, and with a built-in Hepa filter (which the Thunder, until 1995, did NOT have). It was called the Fantom Fury, and was sold through a brilliant series of Infomercials. IONA sold more than a quarter million Fury's in one month of Informericals. Eureka noticed.

Eureka came out, six months later, with the first "whirlwind" bagless upright. Sears would get them also, as the Kenmore Bagless. Horrible, klunky, bulky design, with a clogging filter behind the 'dirt cup' that acted like a diaper, catching the dust the single cyclone failed to. But the only other choices in Bagless uprights were the Fantom Thunder and Fury, and the Amway ClearTrak (which the CMS 1000 became after a few minor cosmetic changes).

Dyson came out with his canister cleaner, Called DC02, and Fantom came out with the Lightning canister a year later. The Lightning proved another huge seller for IONA as well as the Kenmore Destiny III (which the Lightning was called at Sears).

IONA changed its name to Fantom Technologies, but GREED started to get the better of them. James had designed lifetime MEMA filters (Maximum Efficiency, Maximum Airflow), but Fantom did NOT want them, prefering to charge $75 for a new Hepa filter (change once a year). Fantom refused to use lifetime, washable filters, and this made James furious. James designed the clutch, which not only turned the brush bar OFF for bare floor cleaning, but protected the belt so it would never break. Fantom wanted NO part of a lifetime belt either.

In 2001, Fantom Technologies made a HUGE blunder. They decided that paying James a royalty for the dual cyclonic technology he designed and patented was for the birds. They said "let's make the machine for less money, and not pay James". They took out the double cyclone system, opting for a series of depth filters instead, which WERE washable. However, they clogged just like a bag. This model was called the Wildcat, and it was HORRIBLE. People returned them in droves, right up until the company went BANKRUPT.

In October 2001, Fantom Technologies filed bankruptcy and ceased operations, meaning ALL Fantoms were now orphans and the warranty was no longer in force. Also, there were NO repair parts, as the source for the spare parts dried up instantly when Fantom went out of business.

Fantom Technologies sold the name "Fantom" to Euro-Pro, who contracted with Sanyo to make the DirtHunter bagless vacuum under a private label called Fantom, and sold on HSN. You could get the same machine as a Sanyo DirtHunter or a Fantom (and later as a Shark and Euro-Pro brand). BUT they had a clogging filter in the middle of the dirt bucket and do not work PROPERLY (as James would so famously say).

In 2002, James brought the Dyson to America. In just a few short years, it has become the best selling cleaner over $300 in the United States, knocking off Hoover's Windtunnel and Kenmore's Progressive from their top sales slots, and forcing Hoover into virtual bankruptcy. Ironically, Hoover was offered the Dyson technology back in 1982, and they said "this technology is dead from the neck up". Ha. Words come back to bite you in the rear, don't they Hoover?

Today, if you see a Fantom, it's a Euro-Pro machine, made by any number of manufacturers.

In my collection, I have a Cyclon, two Vectrons, a Thunder, a Fury, a Lightning, and a Cyclone XT (the last, best upright). I have a Wildcat, and also the Westinghouse version of the Wildcat, both as a "plugged" (corded) and "unplugged" (cordless) upright. I have Hoover's copy of the Dyson, called the Triple Vortex (for which Hoover had to pay over 9 million dollars to Dyson in a lawsuit settlement). I have Amway's CMS 1000 and the ClearTrak. I have one of every Dyson model, including some that were EXTREMELY rare like the ReCyclone (a completely recycled Dyson), the prototype for the American DC07 (serial number 5), and some that have not been launched yet (like the upcoming canister with electric power nozzle). I have the COMPLETELY CLEAR DC02 and DC03 (canister and upright) Dysons, made for a very short time in honor of the transluescent I-Mac's. You can see the motor, switch, see-thru cord (you can see the wires inside), handle, everything is clear.

I also have a NovaDry, which was the first bagless cyclonic cleaner I ever saw. It was the reason I wrote to James all those years ago, and the reason I have so many one of a kind Dyson models.

All these machines have their place in history, and since Fantom is out of business, the machines are instant collector's items. In 30 years, some little vacuum collector who is not yet 16 will say "oh my God, you have a FANTOM. Wow, I've never seen one of those before..."

Post# 4251 , Reply# 3   11/19/2006 at 15:34 (4,379 days old) by talktotravis ()        
Dyson predecessors


I would LOVE to see pictures of the CMS, Cyclon, and Vectron, if you get a chance to post them. I have a 1st-gen Fantom Thunder that I like quite a bit, the only downfall being that it's a very large and heavy machine.

Post# 4256 , Reply# 4   11/19/2006 at 16:41 (4,379 days old) by myvacsrock (Dayton, OH)        

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Tom G.!

Your so lucky you have an amway i really like thoughs and want one!!!!!!


Post# 4317 , Reply# 5   11/21/2006 at 15:36 (4,377 days old) by dysonman ()        

If you want an Amway, I'll give you one. Have several to give out at next year's meeting. Won't cost you a cent. And, they work well too.

Post# 4320 , Reply# 6   11/21/2006 at 15:58 (4,377 days old) by swingette ()        

cool info, Tom. though you MUST get a royalty everytime you diss Hoover, huh? (lol). thanks for sharing your knowledge. maybe you would be willing to give us a showcase of the new dc17 sometime soon? David

Post# 4324 , Reply# 7   11/21/2006 at 18:26 (4,377 days old) by myvacsrock (Dayton, OH)        

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when and where is the meeting mr.Gasko??


Post# 4381 , Reply# 8   11/22/2006 at 13:35 (4,376 days old) by dysonman ()        

I only 'diss' the current state of Hoover. I do have a beautiful collection of vintage Hoovers that are my pride and joy. But, the company was completely different back then.

Today, Hoover has many models made by other manufacturers and they put their name on them. Like the Sanyo canister that is badged a Hoover Duros and Maytag Legacy (only at Home Depot). But really, just a Sanyo.

Having the advantage of a job where I fix vacuum EVERY DAY for a living, I have a somewhat unique perspective on vacuums. While I'm also a collector, being a repair person gives me the insight to talk about the things that can and do go wrong with sweepers. Most of it is due to lack of maint. by the customer. Some of it is because of accidents (like socks being sucked up), but some of it is poor design on the part of the manufacturer. That's what I call out the loudest. Poor design.

For example, Hoover uses a motor for their Windtunnel models made by G.S. Electric, who also makes some motors used in less expensive vacuums. G.S. motors are NOT as high quality as Lamb motors (as used by Filter Queen, etc.)

I see SO MANY Windtunnels with bad commutators (the part of the motor where the carbon brushes touch). The new motor costs almost a hundred dollars, and you'll get about three years out of it. I call this stuff out, because people need to know. I have a pile of almost 60 G.S. motors, all burned out, all from Windtunnels sold by Wal-Mart.

One of the vacuums that's sold by discount stores that's REALLY GOOD, is the Bissell Total Floors Volocity upright. They stole the dual cyclone design from dyson, and in the Bissell Volocity, it does work correctly. And for $139, it's also a good value for the consumer. I bought one recently expecting it to be junk. And in fact, I did NOT like the foam filter over the motor (pre-motor filter) because it doesn't catch the really fine dust. I added a piece of electrostatic filter material to the filter tray, and it now works perfectly. I'm keeping the machine.

Post# 4388 , Reply# 9   11/22/2006 at 14:21 (4,376 days old) by convertible68 ()        
Fantom...that brought back memories...

I was only 4 years old, but vividly remember when the IONA Fantom came out (before it was even called the Thunder, and had 11 amps). I wanted one in the worst way, of course, and I asked my mom to request one of the demonstration videos, which I watched NONSTOP! I still remember on the video, the owner of a restaurant called "Billy's Chowder House" using the Fantom as the restaurant vacuum and loving it, funny huh? As any happy vacuum-obsessed kid would, I eagerly played with the Kenmore Destiny at Sears.

Now when I was 7 and the 10-amp Fury came out, BOY did I lust over that thing! I thought it was the most badass vacuum EVER (especially that styling), so much cooler than our boring Oreck which we ordered *right* before the Fury hit the stores, go figure. I wanted one so bad that I even had a couple of dreams where we actually had one that I was using! Of course I got the demonstration video for that one as well, and I was pretty much sold, but as for the machine, well, let's just say all I got for Christmas that year was a Singer stick vac, LOL. Same with the Lightning canister, another one I remember drooling over, even though the price was $329 at Target! I finally saw one of those in person at Service Merchandise (that's a name you don't see anymore) and tried it out. When we moved from Houston to Bellville in 1998 and decided the Oreck was going to a new home, I tried hard to convince the parents to get a Fury or Lightning as a replacement, since by then the Fury had been upgraded to 12 amps. No such luck...but at least we ended up with a Kenmore Progressive, which I was also excited about using at the time.

Interesting that you mention the NovaDry and Eureka Whirlwind. I saw the NovaDry machine in several early-90's Sears catalogs my grandmother had. Didn't Capture use that exact design for their dry carpet cleaning machine as well? I also remember seeing the first Whirlwind in some obscure mail-order catalog; didn't it have sort of a "rounded" nozzle? It looked much different than the later Victory-design models. Then there was also the short-lived "Whirlwind Mighty Mite" of the early-2000s, with that funky dirt cup assembly attached to the wands...we had one for a little while. What a joke, but still, it's probably another future collector's item, in my opinion.

CR tested the Wildcat in the February 2002 report, and it quite possibly carries the lowest overall rating (Poor overall) of any machine they have ever tested. Right at the front of the issue, there's a picture of the machine being tested, spewing out dust. They also mentioned Fantom declaring bankruptcy and ceasing to ship any more machines. One question I have to ask, though. I noticed the Cyclone XT was tested alongside the Wildcat. So does that mean Fantom made both the dual-cyclone and the crappy "royalty-free" design at the same time, before going bankrupt?


Post# 4390 , Reply# 10   11/22/2006 at 14:50 (4,376 days old) by convertible68 ()        

It's worth noting that the HORRIBLE motor in the Dirt Devil Broom Vac mini-upright I had, which caused me to literally bash it to pieces, was made by GS Electric. Feh.

Post# 4391 , Reply# 11   11/22/2006 at 15:32 (4,376 days old) by dysonman ()        

YES, Fantom was trying to screw-over James Dyson and decided that they should cease making dual cyclone vacuums so that their payment to James would also cease. The single cyclone Wildcat model was horrible. It was the lowest rated cleaner by Communist Reports. Fantom then decided to make the single cyclone dirt container fit on both the Fury and Cyclone XT models, so at the end of the run of Fantom, they made the dual cyclone Cyclone XT, Lightning, Thunder, and Special Edition (which replaced the Fury) as well as the Wildcat (plus the 'wildcat' version of the cyclone xt and fury). The dual cyclone models were being phased out. That's what gave James the imputus to bring his dream machine to America, which he did in 2001. James details all this in his autobiography "Against The Odds". He HATED the Fantom cleaner, calling it 'ugly' and 'inefficient'. After James invented the Lifetime filters, he offered the design to Fantom who wanted NO part of lifetime filters. They WANTED to sell Hepa filters. Greed, Greed, Greed. And where is Fantom now?

Post# 4554 , Reply# 12   11/24/2006 at 03:06 (4,375 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

The Fantom vacuums I have seen are broken beyond repair-and ready for the dumpster.I haven't seen any in remotely "collectable" condition.According to any of the vacuum shops here-Fantom parts are impossible to get-you have to get them from a junked machine.

Post# 4561 , Reply# 13   11/24/2006 at 08:08 (4,375 days old) by ohio_tuec ()        
Super Sucker

Yes, I think Fantom went out of business about five years ago, and 99.9% of Fantoms were put into regular use, and not saved as collectors items. Occasionally, I'll find a Thunder or Fury thrown out in terrible shape. I did pick up a Lightning about a year ago that is totally intact, but someone cut the cord and I haven't gotten around to replacing it. I have a Thunder I bought at the flea market in 1997. According to the DOM, it was only a few months old and in excellent condition. I've used it about a half a dozen times since then. I found a Westinghouse Wired (Fantom Cyclone XT) about two months ago. I tried to swap collection bins with a Cyclone XT we had traded in at work, but no such luck. The tops are different. Has anybody here seen the movie "Super Sucker" with Jeff Daniels? They use modified Fantom Cyclone XT's.

Post# 4600 , Reply# 14   11/25/2006 at 04:35 (4,374 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Yes,I have the "Super Suckers" movie.Great show for vacuum cleaner lovers.All of the various types of vacuums in the movie-also like the Koblentz uprights the salesman was carrying in the beginning of the movie with the yellow bag.I have a "use and care" video for a Fantom Thunder vacuum.Got it from one of the vac shops here as he was cleaning out his store.He used to be a warranty and repair station.also have the sales and service manuals for the Fantoms.

Post# 245376 , Reply# 15   8/12/2013 at 12:56 (1,921 days old) by freedomland ()        
fantom capture

I used to have one of these a Fantom Capture.... and used it with Capture... but the motor died.. and there was no replacement for it whatsoever... left it with the vacuum repair place

I still own and use the Fury.. and it still works

Post# 245398 , Reply# 16   8/12/2013 at 15:29 (1,921 days old) by compamac ()        
There was no such thing...

If you had one called a "Fantom Capture' it must be worth something because I used to be big on Fantoms and have 3 Furys and an Original Fantom (Thunder) and NEVER heard of the capture.

Post# 245410 , Reply# 17   8/12/2013 at 17:07 (1,921 days old) by bagintheback (Flagstaff, Arizona)        
There Was A Capture Machine

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But not under the Fantom name, instead only as Kenmore and Drytech. Both the Kenmores and Drytechs use the same cyclonic technology as Fantom, as they were all using technology licensed from Dyson. Please research before you post! 

CLICK HERE TO GO TO bagintheback's LINK

Post# 245418 , Reply# 18   8/12/2013 at 18:31 (1,921 days old) by tig21er (Indiana)        
I have

two new Fantom motors if you might be interested.

Post# 245419 , Reply# 19   8/12/2013 at 18:33 (1,921 days old) by tig21er (Indiana)        
Fantom motors

Here are the two

Post# 245425 , Reply# 20   8/12/2013 at 19:47 (1,921 days old) by compamac ()        

I have heard of the DryTech and Kenmore but not "Fantom Capture" thats why I said it. Im sorry

Post# 245428 , Reply# 21   8/12/2013 at 20:16 (1,921 days old) by piano_god (British Columbia, Canada)        
Ametek Lamb 119474-00...

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If you cut off the shaft where the belt would normally ride, those Ametek 119474's make powerful replacements for the 116311. The 119474 is more powerful due to its higher RPM and tapered fan, but has a shorter lifespan.

Post# 245449 , Reply# 22   8/12/2013 at 22:22 (1,921 days old) by tig21er (Indiana)        

for the heads up on what can be done. I feel since these motors are hard to acquire a collector might be interested at a fair price of $40.00 a piece and add shipping. Otherwise I might make use of it as a replacement motor on something else. Collector's choice on what I should do.

Post# 245477 , Reply# 23   8/13/2013 at 06:28 (1,921 days old) by FantomFan (Rochester, New York)        

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The original poster is right. If you go to older j.c Penney ads on this site, you will notice that the capture machine has a small little fantom logo on the corner of the top. I figure they did that later in it's span as fantom expanded.

Post# 245507 , Reply# 24   8/13/2013 at 12:13 (1,921 days old) by dysonman1 (Missouri)        

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Once Sears no longer sold the DryTech, Fantom let their dealers have them, rebadged as the Capture Machine with the Fantom Dual Cyclonic logo on the front. They were more expensive (at wholesale) than a Thunder.

Post# 247034 , Reply# 25   8/21/2013 at 21:46 (1,912 days old) by veteranvacuum ()        
Fantom rebuilds

alot of people have been asking for fantom parts,im still going to try and get them what they need but im going to rebuild a few too. so if anybody wants first dibs let me know

Post# 247049 , Reply# 26   8/21/2013 at 22:38 (1,912 days old) by man114 (Buffalo NY)        

I need a mesh filter for the top of a cyclone xt bin if you've got one.

Post# 247129 , Reply# 27   8/22/2013 at 12:47 (1,912 days old) by VeteranVacuum ()        
fantom filter

Could you send a pic, my dad works better off pics, but we do have some new fantom filters

Post# 247779 , Reply# 28   8/26/2013 at 09:17 (1,908 days old) by FantomFan (Rochester, New York)        
Hey man114

fantomfan's profile picture
I know you are busy but I would really like to know what you are selling; and for how much. I am not trying to sound rude or pushy; I may just sound like I am because I am going back to school in 1 week; which is why I kept emailing you. Please send me a message when you can. I appreciate it! -Mitchell

Post# 247791 , Reply# 29   8/26/2013 at 11:14 (1,908 days old) by FantomVacuumFan (St.Petersburg, Florida)        

fantomvacuumfan's profile picture
Do you have any Brushrolls? Like for the Fury and Thunder?

Post# 247854 , Reply# 30   8/26/2013 at 22:44 (1,907 days old) by veteranvacuum ()        
hey fantomvacuumfan

yes , i have brush rollers

Post# 260685 , Reply# 31   12/24/2013 at 21:38 (1,787 days old) by magicmatt ()        
Iona Fantom F11062 Motor

does anyone have any motors for iona fantom f11062 sears lists them as part 64044 but they are $177.99.

please let me know thanks


Post# 287930 , Reply# 32   7/9/2014 at 12:50 (1,591 days old) by suelockwood ()        

I have a Fantom Lightning which has sat in the attic since 2001. Cleaned up and working fine. Anyone know where I can get a user manual for it?

Post# 287970 , Reply# 33   7/9/2014 at 14:53 (1,590 days old) by super-sweeper (KSSRC Refurbishment Center)        
i can't help you, Sue,

super-sweeper's profile picture

But I would like to add that Dyson calling Fantom 'ugly' and 'inefficient' is pure irony! Look today at the absurd designs Dyson sells today, I didn't know that was 'beautiful'! To trample over Fantom and pave his way into America is the real greed. If other vacuums make revenue off the wonderful disposable bag, why should Fantom not have the right to acquire revenue with Filters? It's simple business. What if the MEMA filters were all a plan to make Fantom fail, leaving the door open for Dyson? It makes you wonder!

Post# 287977 , Reply# 34   7/9/2014 at 15:08 (1,590 days old) by Gr8DaneDad ()        

There is no conspiracy... Dyson simply did not choose to renew his license agreement with IONA when it expired. Had they continued to update the machines as per their licensing agreement, things may have been much different and they very well could still be in business and Dyson would be sold as Fantom in the US and Canada.

Post# 288018 , Reply# 35   7/9/2014 at 23:49 (1,590 days old) by man114 (Buffalo NY)        

The designs didn't really need "updating". The Thunder and it's various amperage and Kenmore variants is still a fine performer. If EuroPro decided to rerelease the Thunder tomorrow (since I'm sure the patents have since expired), it would easily be amongst the best bagless cyclonic uprights available.

Post# 288156 , Reply# 36   7/11/2014 at 00:16 (1,589 days old) by super-sweeper (KSSRC Refurbishment Center)        
the conspiracy,

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Was a joke, that part about the Dyson mafia, though.....tongue-out

Post# 327030 , Reply# 37   6/16/2015 at 11:35 (1,249 days old) by fantomfan57 (Central Texas)        

Hi, I have a bunch of thunders that work or can be parted out. Put VACUUMLANDER in the subject line.


Post# 358326 , Reply# 38   8/28/2016 at 12:45 (810 days old) by rohmell (New York -> Long Island)        
No Mention Made

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of the Fantom bagged canister FM709K. I have one, found it on the side of the road, but it works, and I bought new bags/filters for it.

I wonder if some day it might be a collectors item?

Maybe I should stop using it to keep it in good condition for future value?

Post# 358336 , Reply# 39   8/28/2016 at 18:01 (809 days old) by rohmell (New York -> Long Island)        
Another Orphan?

rohmell's profile picture
Quite similar in appearance to my Fantom FM709K, is my Kenmore canister 115.24196210.

Same style of foot-operated power on/off switch.
Same style of pre- and post- motor filters.
Same style of dual tab hose locking contrivance.

115? I thought Kenmore vacs were 116.

Anyway, after some more research:

This vacuum is a non-serviceable model, which means that replacement parts and the manual are not made or offered for this model.

So does that mean it's an orphan as well?

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