Thread Number: 6903  /  Tag: Pre-1950 Vacuum Cleaners
1919 Hoover plug?
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Post# 76187   7/23/2009 at 09:10 (3,619 days old) by vintagehoover ()        

I recently obtained this plug, which I believe to be, if not the first, then certainly one of the earliest plugs used on UK Hoovers. I would guess it dates between 1919 and 1926.


I received it as shown above, set for use in bayonet light fittings...


However, when I took it apart...


...I discovered that the 2 internal parts could be separated and reversed...

Photobucket convert it into...


...a two-pin, wall-socket plug! Cool, huh?! Not only can you swap between the two fittings, but the two pins can be loosened and spaced wider apart, or moved closer together. This allows it to fit a greater range of wall-sockets, which were decades from being standardised at this point!


Since I don't yet own a UK Hoover Model 105, it looks like it'll end up on my 1923 Model 541. Since this photo was taken, I've fitted it with a braided black fabric cord, which looks more authentic than the red and gold 1950s Hoover Dustette fabric cord it was fitted with when I got it!

Post# 76191 , Reply# 1   7/23/2009 at 10:50 (3,619 days old) by seamusuk (Dover Kent UK)        
So Cool :)

Hey Jack

Im so glad you got that- as soon as I noticed it I knew there was only one place it could end up !

And how cool is it that its convertible- its odd this one was designed that way and yet the later one you have is for a bayonet fitting only.

Look forward to seeing it attached to the 541 with the braided cord- it should look amazing :)


Post# 76344 , Reply# 2   7/25/2009 at 05:02 (3,617 days old) by chestermikeuk (Rainhill (Birthplace of the Railway),England, UK.)        

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a little stunner there Jack , lovely detail, just the job for 541...!!!and the black braided cord will be perfect!!, any ideas who made it make/??can notice Unitem and BCM Ectru??

Post# 76428 , Reply# 3   7/25/2009 at 19:03 (3,616 days old) by vintagehoover ()        
All plugged up!

Thanks Seamus and Mike - it was a find-in-a-million, and really finishes off my 541. I still can't believe I was even lucky enough to find the 541 itself, let alone an authentic plug for it!

I have the second model UK Hoover...and you know I won't rest until I have the first! And if I could find one of those 1912 models sold in Scotland...well...

I ran the 541, resplendant with its new aquisition, for a few minutes off one of my wall sconces, although I don't think I'll be doing that too often! The black braided cord is actually 3-core, and when it had a modern plug, the cleaner was earthed - of course, that doesn't apply any more!

Mike, on the base of the plug, it has 'BCM / LEKTRIK' inscribed. I've tried googling both of these, and I haven't found anything useful. I also tried looking up the patent number, but disappointingly, British patent documents don't seem to be covered online in the same way American ones are, as far as I can tell.

Post# 76431 , Reply# 4   7/25/2009 at 19:17 (3,616 days old) by vintagehoover ()        

3 generations of Hoover plug!

Post# 76437 , Reply# 5   7/25/2009 at 20:22 (3,616 days old) by sireluxomatic ()        

I like the Hoover script on that plug.

Post# 77062 , Reply# 6   8/1/2009 at 17:01 (3,609 days old) by vintagehoover ()        

A better pic...

Post# 77067 , Reply# 7   8/1/2009 at 17:58 (3,609 days old) by z30soulbrother (West Midlands, UK)        

i love this .. how clever! Im sure my parents said our lux z55 came with a bayonet light plug when brand new... of course most properties had limited wall sockets years ago so the light socket was used for a lot of appliances that didnt need an earth like most vacuums... although my grandads winton junior had an earth the connecter plugged into the top of the cylinder and a brass strip ran down the side with an external terminal wich the earth wire came back out of the connecter and was attached to. This earthed the case of the cleaner

Post# 77148 , Reply# 8   8/2/2009 at 12:10 (3,609 days old) by watsonw (Newport, Shropshire, UK)        
`The replacement braided flex

Hello Jack,

Every time I see that your 541 of yours how I wish I'd had gone on and on bidding.....but never mind I'll find a 541 one day.

Great find, like everybody else I am very pleased for you, there's such a sense of satisfaction in completing a machine in as best a way as possible.

On Friday afternoon I was in the a branch of the 'PERIOD HOME' shops in SHREWSBURY and was actually looking at that very type of three core that where you got yours ?

I asked about 2 core but they had never stocked it and did'nt think it was available, does anybody know otherwise ?

Again well done Jack.

Regards, Walter.

Post# 77151 , Reply# 9   8/2/2009 at 12:23 (3,609 days old) by vintagehoover ()        

Hi Walter -

I got the 3-core braided cord from eBay, they did it in 3m, 6m, and 10m lengths. I'm pretty sure I went for 6m - long enough to be practical, but I wasn't spending the extra money for 10m, since I knew I wouldn't use it all that much!

Next goal: an original sateen bag with the spreader top - what are the chances of finding one of those in the UK?!

As for the 541, I knew I had to have it as soon as I saw it! This was the eBay pic from the listing - it looked like a HUGE restoration project...

Post# 77152 , Reply# 10   8/2/2009 at 12:29 (3,609 days old) by vintagehoover ()        

...when it arrived and I'd pulled it out of its packaging, I was completely taken aback - no rust or corrosion at all, just many years worth of attic-dirt!

I was delighted, as you can imagine - I never thought I'd have a 541, let alone one in nice condition. Other than cleaning it off and fitting a different bag, cord and plug, I've done no restoration on it at all. Since the paintwork is good overall, I haven't spoiled originality by touching up the tiny chips around the motor base, or the scrapes along the front of the handle.

Post# 77190 , Reply# 11   8/2/2009 at 18:44 (3,608 days old) by z30soulbrother (West Midlands, UK)        
period house shop

Hi Walter
Yes i love the period house shop. Ive been to the Ludlow branch and seen this cable

Post# 77674 , Reply# 12   8/8/2009 at 15:42 (3,603 days old) by akabent (LEFT Coast)        
I have to say......

....This is one of the most interesting threads I have seen and a major reason why I enjoy the Forum. I enjoy the fun and exchange and pics of machines, too, but THIS was fascinating to me. Thanks for sharing, Jack!

Post# 77958 , Reply# 13   8/10/2009 at 15:36 (3,601 days old) by vintagehoover ()        

Thanks, Rick, I'm glad you've enjoyed it! :)

Post# 249087 , Reply# 14   9/4/2013 at 16:40 (2,114 days old) by Socketman ()        
It was made by Lundberg

Lundberg were one of the early UK pioneers in plugs and sockets, they were making them in the 1880s (years before the first American plugs) and this particular specialized plug was patented in 1926. Lektrik was the Lundberg trademark. The link will take you to the patent.


Post# 249138 , Reply# 15   9/5/2013 at 01:58 (2,114 days old) by anthony (leeds uk)        
its amazing

anthony's profile picture
to think it survived all these years also a reminder of how we used to use electricity as an older member i remember this kind of thing being in everyday use in our house where the only socket was in the kitchen and was part of the large on off switch for the electric cooker loverly Hoover by the way

Post# 249140 , Reply# 16   9/5/2013 at 02:22 (2,114 days old) by beko1987 (Stokenchurch, United Kingdom)        

Nice plug, and beautiful machine! Got to love attic dust for keeping things clean underneath! I have the plug on the far left of your picture, which I presume is the newest type. Not wired it up yet though, may have to looking at your pictures!

Although I am iffy about the lack of earth. Did you diconnect the earth lead at the vacuum as well as the plug or just the plug end?

Post# 402165 , Reply# 17   12/8/2018 at 05:36 (194 days old) by scoover (Scoovstoun, UK)        
Another one, 9 years later...

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This very similar plug came with my Canadian built Hoover Duster Model 200 which I am in the process of restoring. It's the same design and manufacturer as Jack's but has lost the cast in Hoover brand embossing.

Instead it had two black and orange Hoover logo waterslide transfers in a very modern typeface for 1929 (Futura for font geeks), traces of one of which survive. You can see why Hoover phased these out: they're big, heavy and were black enamelled to match Hoover's finishes so presumably quite expensive,adding too much to the unit cost of a machine. They're also pretty complex and delicate.

Unlike Jack's my one has been heavily used in both bayonet and 2 pin configuration and shows wear and chips to the Bakelite. I plan a restoration to set off the Duster when its finished.

Manufacture of these seems to have begun in 1926 which presumably means they were originally intended for the 700. I assume previous UK Hoovers, the 105 and the 541 would have used generic unbranded plugs.

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Post# 402221 , Reply# 18   12/9/2018 at 06:49 (193 days old) by Rowdy141 (United Kingdom)        

Your Hoover looks great.

Although consumers had their own unique set of electrical problems to overcome in those days; non-standard voltages, limited to 5 Amps, different plug types, and often only one outlet per room (usually for lighting) - they did have the advantage of having the cord suspended from the centre of the room. That must have made vacuuming so much easier.
Once you'd found someone to reach the light fitting for you, of course!

Post# 402226 , Reply# 19   12/9/2018 at 13:00 (193 days old) by MadMan (Chicago, IL, USA)        

madman's profile picture
eyy, that's pretty neat.

Post# 402980 , Reply# 20   12/23/2018 at 13:22 by Electricutopia (England)        
Lovely to see another one of these -

electricutopia's profile picture
- and with the orange colouring it does seem to match Model 700 as youĺve mentioned. Wondering where the info about manufacture starting in 1926 comes from? Not disagreeing but just curious about the source, this is really interesting to me!

Post# 402983 , Reply# 21   12/23/2018 at 14:09 by Scoover (Scoovstoun, UK)        
Patent date

scoover's profile picture
Have a look at socketman's post a couple of messages back (though much longer ago in time) He provided a link to the patent document. That plug which came on my Duster was the only original Hoover plug of any age that's come to me with the machine it was originally fitted to.

Post# 408280 , Reply# 22   4/18/2019 at 12:21 by scoover (Scoovstoun, UK)        
Another Unitem with a twist

scoover's profile picture
I discovered this last weekend at my local house clearance yard nestling in a box of broken toaster parts. Its another of these Unitem applance plugs from 1926-1927 which has both bayonet and double pin connectors. This one comes with what is clearly a matching female two pin socket, presumably allowing it to be connected to an extension cable. I was very excited about it as it appeared to be the embossed Hoover version like Jack's at the start of this thread. Until you turn it over... (have a look at the last picture) it's embossed Eureka. It's a great find, but I wish it said Hoover!

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Post# 408522 , Reply# 23   4/23/2019 at 11:31 by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)        
Aren't they

gottahaveahoove's profile picture
And, so many are still around!

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