Thread Number: 5115
Vintage Central Vacuums
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Post# 57100   12/28/2008 at 13:01 (4,549 days old) by dirtfinder1 ()        

Just curious but does anyone on here collect or have a few different vintage central vacuum cleaner systems. I know they started making them as early as the 1920's but it doesn't seem anyone ever discusses them?

Post# 57110 , Reply# 1   12/28/2008 at 13:59 (4,549 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
Good question, ive been meaning to ask the same thing. Does anyone have any old literature, pics, ect you could post?

I remember several neighbors having Beam Central Vac in their homes in the early 1970s,,,evidently its what was sold in the area at the time. I remember one neighbor having a Sears Kenmore Central Vac, where the wall inlets had a little silver/metal foil like pad where you had to touch to turn the vac system on and off.
The long hose had a cord with straps to power the PN, which was also an early 70s Kenmore,,im pretty sure the hose,PN, and attachments were all white, and the attachments came in a little plastic carrier, (that looked like the top of their cannister vacs of the time,,had a handle on it the same as the handle of their cannisters). The attachements all tucked into their place a certain way in the carrier. The PN had its own built in non detachable wand, and the attachment kit came with its own chrome wands.
Have always wondered if this was their (Kenmore's) first version of a Central Vac System,,,would have been around 1971-72. Anyone know for sure?

Post# 57124 , Reply# 2   12/28/2008 at 15:17 (4,549 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
I am a Central Vac Fan

compactelectra's profile picture
Here are some shots of the Filtex System - my first. They were great machines. Not quite from the 20's - these are from the 70s - you'll need to check in with some other members for those.

Post# 57125 , Reply# 3   12/28/2008 at 15:19 (4,549 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
I have a couple of sets

compactelectra's profile picture
Of Filtex Central tools - they are amazing. They work beautifully with new central systems.

Post# 57126 , Reply# 4   12/28/2008 at 15:20 (4,549 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
One Last One

compactelectra's profile picture
The extras.

Post# 57127 , Reply# 5   12/28/2008 at 15:23 (4,549 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
Here is a shot

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Of one of my metal inlets - attached to a new MD Silent Master system. Check it out on the left. Greg Nunn now has the Com Vac.

Post# 57133 , Reply# 6   12/28/2008 at 18:18 (4,549 days old) by dial-a-nap (Omaha - the home of the TV Dinner)        

dial-a-nap's profile picture
"Greg Nunn now has the Com Vac"

...and he's going to make Terry clean with it real soon! ;-)

That Filtex electric power nozzle looks just like the Oreck version you have, Fred. It was also available for a backpack vacuum (Lil' Hummer) about ten years ago. I had it but it was horrid on commercial carpet - sucked itself to the floor and stayed until you turned off the vacuum. Plush carpets were a lot better.

Post# 57134 , Reply# 7   12/28/2008 at 18:25 (4,549 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        

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That is an Oreck power nozzle. Can you believe how long they have been in production? I just got that power nozzle from Hesco. Probably some left over stock. The metal Filtex tools were the only ones Filtex made. Otherwise, they got accessories from other manufacturers. I remember buying my first Filtex unit at the address on Divison street above. BTW - better get Terry to work right away! We'll be there with the white gloves on Wednesday.


Post# 57135 , Reply# 8   12/28/2008 at 18:45 (4,549 days old) by luxg ()        

White glove ready Fred, you know Greg is always ready!! Can't wait to see you.

Post# 57138 , Reply# 9   12/28/2008 at 18:59 (4,549 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        
hold tight David

I have some 1920's-ish material on central vac systems. I'm housesitting for someone right now, but I will be back tomorrow night and try to get them scanned and posted for you.

I'm CRAZY about old central vacs. Fred Nelson can tell you. I was in heaven when I visited his house and got to play with his pristine Filtex attachment set. What a treat.

Not to toot my own horn, but I also wrote a series of columns in the VDTA magazine about old centrals, mainly Spencers. I'll see if I can dig those up and scan them.

Post# 57139 , Reply# 10   12/28/2008 at 19:04 (4,549 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
I Was Going To Mention

compactelectra's profile picture
That Andy Weter is probably our best resident vintage Central Vac man. He loaned me some materials from the 20's about Spencer Central Vacs. Glad you chimed in Andy. Let's get this thread going!


Post# 57140 , Reply# 11   12/28/2008 at 19:14 (4,549 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
Here's A Picture Of Andy

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Using my central vac with a very contemporary Aerus Centralux hose and power nozzle. The beauty of a central vac is that you can use any tools you want.

Post# 57141 , Reply# 12   12/28/2008 at 19:19 (4,549 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
I Just Bought a New Hose

compactelectra's profile picture
For the central vacuum. The old style Electrolux. 35' I'll be able to use the Lux PN 1 - 6. Love it.

Post# 57167 , Reply# 13   12/29/2008 at 00:20 (4,549 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
Thanks so much for scanning these pics,,,how cool! I love the remote control for the hose,,haha, those were the days!
Do they still make the inlets with the lights and push button?
Wow, i would sure love to have a set of Filtex tools for my Central System!
I just replaced a 20yr old Beam Central Vac, with a new Honeywell,,,the new Honeywell isnt as quiet as the Beam, but is OK. Also got a Vac Pan, and a new Chrome Beam style inlet(for a new room addition ive built on the back of the house.)

Andy, or anyone that knows,,on Central Vac Inlets,,there is a mounting plate that goes on the back of the inlet, attached at the wall stud, that holds the PVC tubing in back of the drywall,, and the inlet is installed at the front of the drywall, and the 2 then screw in together,so that the inlet is flush to thew wall,,is that right?

I think my contractor did not install the inlets correctly,,darn it! May have to rip out and replace some drywall, but hate to, if not required,,,please advise!
Thank you!

Post# 57168 , Reply# 14   12/29/2008 at 00:23 (4,549 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
BTW, is this company the same "Filtex" that manufacturered a clunky tank type cleaner back in the 1940s, or 50s?

Post# 57174 , Reply# 15   12/29/2008 at 07:41 (4,549 days old) by collector2 (Moose Jaw, Sk)        

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Actually central vacs go back to about 1904 when BVC (British Vacuum Cleaner Corp - later called Goblin) started to produce them in England. We have a number of homes here in Moose Jaw that had "Stationary Cleaners" in them when they were built in 1912. The biggest difference is that usually they only used a 15' hose and had more outlets in the home. Personally I find that alot easier to use than the 30' ones now in use.

I'm including a picture of my 1930's Goblin Stationary Cleaner.

Incidentally Brian - I install central vacs and you are correct. The mounting plate goes behind the gyprock and the valve infront. If its a new installation the plate is hooked to a stud. In an existing home it is often not hooked to anything but the valve as you would have to do gyprock work otherwise. As well they should always be connected by a short 90 elbow. This is the ONLY place short 90's should ever be used as it allows any larger objects to be trapped where they can be removed. If it passes through the short 90 it will have no problem passing through the rest of the sweep 90's.

Post# 57205 , Reply# 16   12/29/2008 at 20:15 (4,548 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        

compactelectra's profile picture
Indeed, the Filtex Company started by a woman in LA in the 30's I believe, was the predecessor to the Filtex Central Vacuum Company. The only thing that was left were the tools. Thank goodness, they are great. When I went into the distributors office in LA in 1980 to buy a unit for the new house, he still had a banner with the old portable unit on the wall. Interesting history.

Post# 57206 , Reply# 17   12/29/2008 at 20:22 (4,548 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        
Light and PushButton Inlets

compactelectra's profile picture
Those were discontinued about 1978. They required special relays and wiring. They were neat. I had a set in Chicago. My inlets shown above are about the same, but without the buttons and lights. You can get them from

Post# 57209 , Reply# 18   12/29/2008 at 20:34 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        
The Spencer Turbine Cleaner

Here is the first brochure for the Spencer Turbine Company. This would be in the 19-teens, since the motor units were still vertical. More to come tomorrow.

Post# 57210 , Reply# 19   12/29/2008 at 20:36 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

Look at how big those units are!

Post# 57211 , Reply# 20   12/29/2008 at 20:42 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

pg 3

Post# 57212 , Reply# 21   12/29/2008 at 20:43 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57213 , Reply# 22   12/29/2008 at 20:44 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

note the two different dirt collection pans

Post# 57215 , Reply# 23   12/29/2008 at 20:45 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57216 , Reply# 24   12/29/2008 at 20:45 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57217 , Reply# 25   12/29/2008 at 20:46 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

in use. I always thought that swivel joint set up looked so ackward to use.

Post# 57218 , Reply# 26   12/29/2008 at 20:48 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

Spencer's had "wall brushes" in addition to the floor brushes.

Post# 57220 , Reply# 27   12/29/2008 at 20:53 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

dusting tools

Post# 57221 , Reply# 28   12/29/2008 at 20:53 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

cleaning the stairs

Post# 57222 , Reply# 29   12/29/2008 at 20:54 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

Tool set

Post# 57223 , Reply# 30   12/29/2008 at 20:55 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57224 , Reply# 31   12/29/2008 at 20:55 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

pg 15

Post# 57225 , Reply# 32   12/29/2008 at 20:56 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

pg 16

Post# 57226 , Reply# 33   12/29/2008 at 20:58 (4,548 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

I have another Spencer brochure I will upload tomorrow, as well as brochures for the Sturtevant and Rumsey central systems.

Doug, I've never seen that Goblin before. What's the suction like compared to a regular canister cleaner?

Post# 57228 , Reply# 34   12/29/2008 at 21:18 (4,548 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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Spencer is also justly famous for it's ORGO-BLO series of pipe organ blower units. The multiple stage turbines make it possible to tap wind pressures from 3" up through 50" and 100" for the large installations. My friend Rich in Syracuse has a 'small' 30" Orgo-blo in his basement; it has three 30" turbine wheels. My Kinetic blower has two 24" wheels for 10" pressure at 500 rpm.

Post# 57279 , Reply# 35   12/30/2008 at 19:33 (4,547 days old) by collector2 (Moose Jaw, Sk)        

collector2's profile picture
Hi Andy:

The goblin (model T-2 incidentally) has about twice the suction of a cannister of the time (which isnt saying alot). Wish I could find the rest of the parts but thats all I got with it. The guy that had it was using it as a shop vac and had no idea that it was actually a central (Hence the ugly yellow dolly under it).

Excellent brochure incidentally. Love it and I look forward to seeing the rest.


Post# 57284 , Reply# 36   12/30/2008 at 19:58 (4,547 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
WOW,,,thanks so much for posting these, and all the information!

Post# 57287 , Reply# 37   12/30/2008 at 20:07 (4,547 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
Dont know if this is true or not, but it seems like i read or heard once that there was a central vac system (such as the Spencer) installed on the Titanic. Anyone ever heard of this?

Post# 57294 , Reply# 38   12/30/2008 at 20:37 (4,547 days old) by vintagehoover ()        
Central Vac on Titanic

I've often wondered what cleaning systems were employed on Titanic. I'd love to imagine the area rugs being 'Hoovered' by the stewards, attracting interested glances from the society ladies, but given that construction began in March 1909, and the Electric Suction Sweeper Company had only been founded 8 months previously, I think it highly unlikely that they could have supplied the equipment. Although if they did have a fleet of Model 18s onboard, it could explain why the ship sank so quickly!

Since the Titanic was the pinnacle of modernity, luxury, and a showcase for all humanity's greatest achievements of the time, I would have thought they'd have wanted to include a system more sophisticated than brooms and duspans, and a 'stationary plant' sounds plausible.

There must be people online who would have information. I found this short discussion on a Titanic forum - it's 5 years out of date, though! I also found a few pics of the ship's interior, but none detailed enough to see if there are any wall-ports for hoses. Perhaps they were concealed, anyway.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO vintagehoover's LINK

Post# 57299 , Reply# 39   12/30/2008 at 23:24 (4,547 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
Thank you for that link,,thats excellent. I coulda swore i heard or read once that Titanic, and its sister Olympic were equipped with the pnumatic (sp?) vacuum tubes, to send messages back and fourth across the ship, and this system was also used to power the central vacuum cleaning system on board.
This could all be false too,,,as it could be a different ship entirely,,not sure.

Post# 57305 , Reply# 40   12/31/2008 at 01:13 (4,547 days old) by electroluxkirby ()        

I didn't realize that central vacuum systems went back that far. The first one I ever saw in person was when my Mother and I went to Canada in 1976; our cousins had a central system and I was so amazed. Their system would activate as soon as an outlet was opened. She had a power nozzle and the usual attachments for bare floors, dusting, and upholstery. I wanted one at our house since I did most of the vacuuming and it was a two story house with only one vacuum cleaner.

This may sound dumb, but I'm going to ask any way, can you use multiple outlets at the same time on a central system or would it cause a loss in suction?

Post# 57392 , Reply# 41   1/1/2009 at 17:24 (4,545 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
Right, the household type central vacs are only meant for one inlet to be open at a time, or else there would be too much suction loss.
The commercial, or industrial units are much larger, and do have the power to supply several open inlets at once.

Notice that one Spencer unit that was 50 HP!

I remember reading where there was a large old theatre somewhere that had such a large central vac unit that when it was turned on, the whole building rumbled like thunder!

Post# 57393 , Reply# 42   1/1/2009 at 17:27 (4,545 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
Notice the elbow on the end of the hose handle, in the pic of the maid vacuuming the carpet? HA, i bet that was one heavy piece to use all day!

Thanks Andy for posting these,,very interesting!

Post# 57394 , Reply# 43   1/1/2009 at 17:30 (4,545 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
Are your inlets for your Central Vac made of Brass? I really like those,,,very sharp looking!

Post# 57433 , Reply# 44   1/2/2009 at 17:41 (4,544 days old) by normvac (COLUMBUS, OHIO)        
Ford Manison in Michigan

I can remember the old 1909 grade school building that I went to first grade in back in the early 50's had a spencer system in it.
Then upon touring the Ford Manison in Michigan. I notice a
old brass inlet in one of the bedrooms. So I asked the tour
guide and she said YES. I don't remember when it was built
for sure but I'm thinking late 30's early 40's. As the beautiful Deco look in the "family" room is just awesome for
the period.
Plus I have a cousin who lives in a wonderful old 4 story brick
home in Bedford PA. that was built by the local doctor in 1912.That also still has the spencer system in the basement. They by pasted it to put in a Nutone system back in the 70's when they renovated the home.

Post# 57437 , Reply# 45   1/2/2009 at 19:17 (4,544 days old) by vintagehoover ()        

Hi, Andy - thanks so much for scanning the Spencer brochure. I've had a great time reading through it, and I'd love to see more material on these machines!

When the Electric Suction Sweeper Company was founded, they took the potential threat to sales that central systems posed very seriously. They went out of their way in their early advertising material to emphasise the number of buildings equipped with central vacs who had abandoned them and adopted The Hoover instead - among them Hotel Havelin, Cincinnati, Hotel Frye, Seattle, and Hotel Astor, New York. A spokesperson from the The Havelin went on to say:

‘We have just purchased our fifth Hoover equipment, in spite of the fact that the Havelin is equipped with one of the best installed plants that money can buy.’

Similarly, Keith’s Hippodrome of Cleveland, Ohio stated:

‘We are doing with two Hoovers, operated by two men, the work intended for our stationary house plant, and seven men.’

In 1919, Hoover patented at least 3 styles of power-nozzle designed for central vacs. I would guess this was to prevent central vac manufacturers from using Hoover’s motor-driven revolving brush principle. Thus, Hoover could claim that since they relied on suction alone, they could never match the efficiency of The Hoover.

Post# 57439 , Reply# 46   1/2/2009 at 21:09 (4,544 days old) by swingette ()        



Post# 57450 , Reply# 47   1/2/2009 at 23:52 (4,544 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
Wow, Jack, and Brett

portable's profile picture
Thanks for that patent info. That's an eye-opener. Hoover was really smart in anchoring that patent against their competition. It helped, too, that the individual vacuum became popular at a time when the price point was more affordable than a built-in plant. I have some ARCO-WAND pamphlets that I'll dig up, so we can continue the thread about built-in systems. Thanks for the great patent research. John L.

Post# 57453 , Reply# 48   1/3/2009 at 01:03 (4,544 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

Jack and David

That is SO cool! I'd always thought to myself that surely it must have occured to someone back then to rig up some sort of a powerhead, well now I know someone did.

A Hoover hooked up to a Spencer. The best of both worlds! As much as I love those old central vacs, even the most powerful Spencers had limits when it came to deep carpet cleaning. And some built ins of that era were just pure duds.

I'll try to post the rest of my literature tomorrow. I'm a little behind because of other family members using the scanner, but I really appreciate everyone's positive comments and contributions!

Post# 57541 , Reply# 49   1/3/2009 at 21:44 (4,543 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
Spencer Systems

portable's profile picture
This pamphlet is from the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915. The dealer I bought it from noted that on 2nd (title) page. Note that they were featured in the GE Building. Hmmmmm. Here's the front page:

Post# 57542 , Reply# 50   1/3/2009 at 21:45 (4,543 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
Spencer - next

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Title page

Post# 57543 , Reply# 51   1/3/2009 at 21:46 (4,543 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
Spencer - more

portable's profile picture
next page -

Post# 57544 , Reply# 52   1/3/2009 at 21:47 (4,543 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
still more

portable's profile picture
new page -

Post# 57545 , Reply# 53   1/3/2009 at 21:48 (4,543 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
and on -

portable's profile picture
next -

Post# 57546 , Reply# 54   1/3/2009 at 21:49 (4,543 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
and forward -

portable's profile picture

Post# 57547 , Reply# 55   1/3/2009 at 21:49 (4,543 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
getting toward the end -

portable's profile picture
here -

Post# 57548 , Reply# 56   1/3/2009 at 21:50 (4,543 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
last page

portable's profile picture

Post# 57556 , Reply# 57   1/3/2009 at 22:33 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

Thanks for posting your pamphlet John! I especially like the last page that has the different parts of the power unit labeled.

Here is a brochure that's a little later than the one I first posted. If you take note of the power units, you can see how they evolved from the first brochure. What I really like about this brochure is that it has several pages with pictures of buildings that had Spencers installed. Look closely and see if you know any of these buildings!

Post# 57557 , Reply# 58   1/3/2009 at 22:34 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

Title page

Post# 57558 , Reply# 59   1/3/2009 at 22:34 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57559 , Reply# 60   1/3/2009 at 22:35 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57560 , Reply# 61   1/3/2009 at 22:37 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        

The triple unit pictured here is for the building in the previous post.

For reference, we can estimate that the motor units were around eight feet tall. In other words, freakin huge!

Post# 57561 , Reply# 62   1/3/2009 at 22:38 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57562 , Reply# 63   1/3/2009 at 22:39 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57563 , Reply# 64   1/3/2009 at 22:39 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57564 , Reply# 65   1/3/2009 at 22:40 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57565 , Reply# 66   1/3/2009 at 22:41 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57566 , Reply# 67   1/3/2009 at 22:41 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57567 , Reply# 68   1/3/2009 at 22:42 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57568 , Reply# 69   1/3/2009 at 22:43 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57569 , Reply# 70   1/3/2009 at 22:43 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57570 , Reply# 71   1/3/2009 at 22:44 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57571 , Reply# 72   1/3/2009 at 22:45 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57572 , Reply# 73   1/3/2009 at 22:45 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57573 , Reply# 74   1/3/2009 at 22:46 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57574 , Reply# 75   1/3/2009 at 22:47 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57575 , Reply# 76   1/3/2009 at 22:47 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57576 , Reply# 77   1/3/2009 at 22:48 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57577 , Reply# 78   1/3/2009 at 22:49 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57578 , Reply# 79   1/3/2009 at 22:49 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57579 , Reply# 80   1/3/2009 at 22:50 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57580 , Reply# 81   1/3/2009 at 22:51 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57582 , Reply# 82   1/3/2009 at 22:52 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57583 , Reply# 83   1/3/2009 at 22:52 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57584 , Reply# 84   1/3/2009 at 22:53 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57585 , Reply# 85   1/3/2009 at 22:54 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57586 , Reply# 86   1/3/2009 at 22:55 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57587 , Reply# 87   1/3/2009 at 22:56 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57588 , Reply# 88   1/3/2009 at 22:57 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57589 , Reply# 89   1/3/2009 at 22:57 (4,543 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


Post# 57592 , Reply# 90   1/3/2009 at 23:41 (4,543 days old) by swingette ()        

Bless you, John and Andy, for posting these!

Post# 57616 , Reply# 91   1/4/2009 at 02:16 (4,543 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
Yes, thanks so much for posting this,,,very interesting reading!

Post# 57665 , Reply# 92   1/4/2009 at 22:57 (4,542 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
Andy -

portable's profile picture
I loved this last pamphlet. I recognized the Battle Creek Sanitarium (Michigan). Wonder if it's still there? I like the tool lockers, too. I wonder if GE was involved with the Spencer at all?

Post# 57675 , Reply# 93   1/5/2009 at 04:49 (4,542 days old) by vintagehoover ()        
Battle Creek Sanitarium

When was the second Spencer booklet printed? I ask because in around 1912/13, Hoover were using the Battle Creek Sanitarium in their advertising booklets as an example of a building fitted with a central vac who had abandoned it in favour of The Hoover!

Post# 57695 , Reply# 94   1/5/2009 at 16:22 (4,541 days old) by rugmaster37 ()        
Battle Creek Sanitarium...

It's still there. Parts of it anyway. The last addition is the picture you see beliow that was completed in the early 1930's. If you interested in the history of such things, and how far we've come as a society with health care...the link will be you're cup of tea also.

Here's a fairly recent shot of the Sanitarium as it sits downtown BC.

Huh...had NO idea that this whole works had anything to do with the invention of Kellogg's cereal.

I searched and sifted thru all the pic's..not even a shot of the central vac outlets on the walls or floors.


Ann Arbor Michigan

CLICK HERE TO GO TO rugmaster37's LINK

Post# 57696 , Reply# 95   1/5/2009 at 16:27 (4,541 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
Isnt the movie "Road to Wellville" kind of a spoof about the Battle Creek Sanitarium?
I remember reading once that Dr. Kellogg (who the cereal company is named after?) was either the founder or, had something to do with this place.

Post# 57697 , Reply# 96   1/5/2009 at 16:41 (4,541 days old) by rugmaster37 ()        
I guess most of it is still there!!!

I find that amazing that only the powerhouse was torn down at some point. I'm epecially intrigued by the fact that the pre 1930's part of Sanitarium is still standing, this was built in 1903. So it stands to reason that the building may still have central vacuum bits still in it. It's possible then, that the original system, while disconnected, may still be lurking in the bowels of that huge complex...

Hopefully this Google Earth pic shows up well....

CLICK HERE TO GO TO rugmaster37's LINK

Post# 57707 , Reply# 97   1/5/2009 at 19:03 (4,541 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


This booklet was printed in the late teen's, I'm pretty sure.

Post# 57721 , Reply# 98   1/5/2009 at 23:17 (4,541 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
Hey Chad and Brian -

portable's profile picture
If the movie "The Road to Wellville" is to be believed, Dr. Kellogg was one crazy loon, obsessed with "bowel cleansing". In the movie, a terrible fire consumes most of the grounds, but I have no idea if that ever happened or not. The old structure(s) was made mostly of wood. I should take a gander at Jack's link that he put up.

Post# 57722 , Reply# 99   1/5/2009 at 23:34 (4,541 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
A little later -

portable's profile picture
That's a fascinating link, Chad (not Jack, sorry). Apparently the newer tower went up in about 1928. There was a fire in the early "oughts" and a reopened Sanitarium reopened in 1903. Quite a story - check out Chad's link above.

Post# 57739 , Reply# 100   1/6/2009 at 17:09 (4,540 days old) by briankirbyclass (Eudora Kansas)        

briankirbyclass's profile picture
Very interesting! Thanks so much!

Post# 57741 , Reply# 101   1/6/2009 at 19:14 (4,540 days old) by rolls_rapide (-)        
British Vacuum Cleaner Company

Patented 1901.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO rolls_rapide's LINK

Post# 57752 , Reply# 102   1/7/2009 at 08:09 (4,540 days old) by centralvacs1928 (Oak Brook, IL)        

centralvacs1928's profile picture
Andy those are awesome! How come I never got to see 'em when I visited a year ago?

Actually I think I remember you saying they were at another house at that time...oh well...

How do you come across this stuff?


Post# 57784 , Reply# 103   1/7/2009 at 20:16 (4,539 days old) by centralvacs1928 (Oak Brook, IL)        

centralvacs1928's profile picture

One of your brochures for the old Filtex systems lists "N. Stanitz" as the national sales manager, based on Division Street in Chicago.

This gentleman went on to have his own brand of central vacuums (Air-Flo Systems) private labeled, and these were manufactured by the makers of your SilentMaster. I've attached a picture of a triple motor Air-Flo unit. These are EVERYWHERE in the Chicago area! The smaller, dual-motor version is a little more common, too.

Post# 57902 , Reply# 104   1/9/2009 at 22:14 (4,537 days old) by andy (Boston, MA)        


I found all of my stuff on ebay, believe it or not!

Post# 57904 , Reply# 105   1/9/2009 at 22:51 (4,537 days old) by centralvacs1928 (Oak Brook, IL)        

centralvacs1928's profile picture
I should pay more attention to eBay! I've gotten a couple old advertisements (Spencer, Invincible, Arco Wand) and a vintage Spencer installation type booklet from the 1910s, but nothing like you have.

Post# 325985 , Reply# 106   5/28/2015 at 20:25 (2,207 days old) by pwbeantown (Newton, MA)        
anyone want a Spencer central vac, possibly model 211?

Our 1916 house has a central vac which we have not used for years. We are clearing out the basement. If someone wants the Spencer Turbine Cleaner, they can have it.
Phil Boston area 617-527-1762

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 3         View Full Size
Post# 325997 , Reply# 107   5/29/2015 at 01:01 (2,207 days old) by kenkart ()        

Better gET THIS..If I had it I guarantee it would be hooked up in my basement!!!

Post# 325998 , Reply# 108   5/29/2015 at 01:54 (2,207 days old) by tolivac (Greenville,NC)        

Older Spencer unit--sounds cool!does the unit still work?

Post# 326016 , Reply# 109   5/29/2015 at 10:27 (2,206 days old) by dysonman1 (the county)        

Owen's Spencer Turbine from the 'teens'. Perfect balance of suction (pressure) and air flow. Took this photo during my recent visit to Owen's home in Chicago. Has a very interesting sound as it starts up - like a Hoover model 700 does.

  View Full Size
Post# 326017 , Reply# 110   5/29/2015 at 10:28 (2,206 days old) by dysonman1 (the county)        

Owen's Ohio TUEC, high air flow but very low suction.

  View Full Size
Post# 326018 , Reply# 111   5/29/2015 at 10:30 (2,206 days old) by dysonman1 (the county)        

Owen's ARCO-WAND. Very high pressure (suction) but very low air flow. ARCO stands for American Radiator Company.

  View Full Size

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