Thread Number: 44875  /  Tag: 80s/90s Vacuum Cleaners
GE Commodore Vacuum with powerhead (Looks like from Japan)
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Post# 465837   9/5/2023 at 09:13 (284 days old) by Adam-aussie-vac ( Canberra, Australia )        

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Hey guys, I picked up a GE vacuum which looks which appears to be made in Japan but unconfirmed,like it includes a power head which I am finding very unusual, as I remember Japan mainly being the country of straight suction cleaners and Coldwater washing with laundry

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Post# 465851 , Reply# 1   9/5/2023 at 15:44 (283 days old) by kirbylux77 (London, Ontario, Canada)        

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Actually, that wouldn't be that unusual. By the looks of that powerhead and the caster wheel, that looks to be a early 80s rebadged Panasonic canister. And those Panasonic canisters were made in Japan before the early 90s when Panasonic bought out Whirlpool's North American vacuum business and eventually stopped importing the Japanese canisters.

What's the voltage on it? And was this for the Australian market, or what country did this ship to you from?

Post# 465860 , Reply# 2   9/5/2023 at 18:38 (283 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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I agree…we North Americans were lucky to have some excellent Panasonic power nozzle canisters in our stores in the 1970’s and 1980’s. These were all made in Japan and eventually outperformed even Eureka canisters in Consumer Reports tests at the time.

It makes sense that Matsushita/National/Panasonic would leverage their expertise in power nozzles by offering them to markets outside the USA and Canada. The hose handle on that GE is identical to some of the hoses sold with North American Panasonics….yet it seems closer to the ones we got in the 1990’s after Panasonic took over the US Whirlpool factory.

Post# 465861 , Reply# 3   9/5/2023 at 18:45 (283 days old) by luxlife (Under a Pecan Tree)        
That’s a direct-connect wire setup on the hose handle

The only direct connect I ever saw on a Panasonic was after their canisters became Kenmore clones. Perhaps this is another Japanese brand?

Post# 465865 , Reply# 4   9/5/2023 at 20:14 (283 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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But it could be that Panasonic shipped those electrified hoses from the former Whirlpool plant and packaged them in Japan as part of this cleaner destined for Australia. Panasonic is a large global company and so it seems reasonable that an American-made vacuum hose ended up on a cleaner sold in Australia.

Post# 465877 , Reply# 5   9/6/2023 at 07:04 (283 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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Found it! Believe it or not, this Australian GE vacuum was made by the Japanese Mitsubishi company. See link below for an online sale of one in Malaysia:

CLICK HERE TO GO TO eurekaprince's LINK

Post# 465878 , Reply# 6   9/6/2023 at 07:54 (283 days old) by luxlife (Under a Pecan Tree)        
Your link doesn’t work

But at least you found it.

Post# 465883 , Reply# 7   9/6/2023 at 10:52 (283 days old) by Adam-aussie-vac ( Canberra, Australia )        
Oh wow that is a beautiful vacuum,

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Also here are the photos for the people if links don’t work

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Post# 465885 , Reply# 8   9/6/2023 at 13:15 (283 days old) by kirbylux77 (London, Ontario, Canada)        

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Mitsubishi made vacuums? Who knew! That is one very cool vacuum! Especially since they had a bagless system similar to what Sanyo canisters used, with the pleated filter you cleaned by turning a crank that turned plastic fins to knock the dust off the filter.

I swear though, that is definitely a 1980s Panasonic Jet Flo canister clone though. The powerhead, powerhead neck, hose handle and canister wheels just scream Panasonic. The Jet Flo must have played a big design influence for sure.

Adam, is your GE Commodore bagged or bagless like the Mitsubishi?

Post# 465893 , Reply# 9   9/6/2023 at 18:51 (282 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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Re Japanese vacuum clones: I am not quite sure how strong the copyright laws are in Japan, but having lived in Tokyo for a short while in summer of 1988, I can attest to the fact that the assortment of canister vacuums available in stores looked very very uniform across all the brands: National Panasonic, Sanyo, Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, etc. For example, it looked like all the companies got their electrified hoses from one supplier - all the hose handles had similar power switches. The bagless vacs all had similar “dust cassette boxes” that used large filter boxes with combinations of fine mesh screens and accordion fabric filters. Even the carpet/bare floor nozzles looked very similar…probably coming from one supplier - similar to how Wessel Werk supplies so many similar carpet nozzles to a wide array of manufacturers.

It would be interesting to find out how one particular innovation was not protected by any copyright: on many Japanese canisters pulling out and rewinding the cord also caused a gear mechanism to “flick” the panels of the fabric filter to release fine dust into the cassette box!

Post# 465896 , Reply# 10   9/6/2023 at 22:27 (282 days old) by Adam-aussie-vac ( Canberra, Australia )        
I’m not sure what kind of filter system that it uses

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But I think the machine actually may be manufactured by Sanyo as you can see it’s got almost the exact same button for the filter box release and it looks almost the exact same where the little cover for the wing down the back

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Post# 465900 , Reply# 11   9/7/2023 at 07:03 (282 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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This is getting more and more mind-boggling. Indeed, the top component with the bag check indicator looks like it was made by Sanyo, but the rest of the vac looks more like it came from Mitsubishi. Bizarre. Maybe if we had close shot of the ratings plate on the GE, we could get more clues?

Post# 465902 , Reply# 12   9/7/2023 at 09:35 (282 days old) by luxlife (Under a Pecan Tree)        
Sanyo and Panasonic lookalikes

It’s just as mind boggling as that little egg shaped machine from the 70’s and 80’s that both companies sold.

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This post was last edited 09/07/2023 at 14:06
Post# 465909 , Reply# 13   9/7/2023 at 18:10 (281 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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Those little compact Sanyos were so cute! And powerful! I always had a laugh when I saw the Kenmore clones at Sears which were labelled “Let’s Clean”!!!!! 😁

Post# 465910 , Reply# 14   9/7/2023 at 20:11 (281 days old) by Adam-aussie-vac ( Canberra, Australia )        
Hey guys, it’s here

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I’ll open it so we can all get a better look

PS the cord filter section actually works on this machine

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Post# 465911 , Reply# 15   9/7/2023 at 20:35 (281 days old) by Adam-aussie-vac ( Canberra, Australia )        

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Although when I had a look at this, when I tried it on my mum’s carpet, I think it actually needs a new belt, and I did check the Vacuum and it was kind of full of dust so I use the other GE I have

Post# 465912 , Reply# 16   9/7/2023 at 22:11 (281 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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Boy…the bottom of the power nozzle looks more like a Hoover Powermatic from the early original design in the 1970’s. It’s got that bare floor switch that brings down a squeegie while shutting off the brush motor. But maybe the early Panasonic Jet-Flos also had that feature?

I am very confused. This is fascinating!!!

Post# 465913 , Reply# 17   9/8/2023 at 06:55 (281 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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Nix my previous post. That’s definitely a clone of a Panasonic Jet-Flo power nozzle. Even the wands and hose are almost identical.

That GE has got to be made by Matsushita/National/Panasonic. Would be interesting to see a catalogue of other Australian GE vacs from the same year this one came out.

Post# 465976 , Reply# 18   9/8/2023 at 23:22 (280 days old) by adam-aussie-vac ( Canberra, Australia )        
LOL, if you want, I can show you the other 2 GE

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Vacuum that were potentially available at the time, the first one I think was probably the GE swivel top, while the second one was the GE Sadie heavy duty Dry Vacuum then potentially this one came along

Post# 466227 , Reply# 19   9/16/2023 at 15:43 (272 days old) by Collector2 (Moose Jaw, Sk)        

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Just a bit of information to throw in here. In Japan, Unlike the US, the major companies work together funding a single research division. Patents are held jointly and then the companies simply make modifications to the designs to their own specs. Hence a lot of the vacuums you see have parts that are common to several brands. Eg: The hose connection is the same on older Panasonic, Sanyo and Hitachi machines. This would be why the machine above looks like the Mitsubishi, has the same power nozzle as Panasonic and shares parts in common with other brands.

Post# 466280 , Reply# 20   9/17/2023 at 19:58 (271 days old) by eurekaprince (Montreal, Canada)        

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Thank you so much for that enlightening explanation, Doug! I never knew this.

Maybe there is a similar situation in China where the communist government allows a handful of government approved companies to produce almost identical stick vacs and robot vacs….hence the wide variety of Chinese brand names on essentially similar vacuums.

Post# 466307 , Reply# 21   9/18/2023 at 18:20 (270 days old) by adam-aussie-vac ( Canberra, Australia )        
Wow, the more I know

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Also, on a related note, the only thing I’m not really happy about with that Vacuum is that it doesn’t actually have a extension wand that clicks into it, I’ve tried all the other ones that I have, but it seems like none of them really work well, and I did have to replace a belt on it and somehow a Kirby belt actually works well the head does a great job at picking up stuff out of the carpet

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