Thread Number: 7946
THE FOUNDING OF THE VACUUM CLEANER COLLECTOR'S CLUB
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|Post# 88292   1/6/2010 at 14:47 (3,568 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)  || |
There seems to be some confusion as to how this club got started. Our previous web site told the basic story and was 99% correct, though not complete; as the events leading up to how I met John Lucia were missing. In a way this was my fault, because I felt these events weren't important, I now realize they were very important! It still baffles me that we have a club, and what baffles me even more is the size of our club. I certainly can't speak for John, but for me, to know that a great number of people are interested in the vacuum cleaner is amazing.
Our club really began in the Summer of 1980 when my good friend John Henry, owner of The Henry Co. causally asked if I'd ever been to the Hoover Historical Center in North Canton, Ohio. I had not, and said so. "This is a place you must see"! he said and a few days later a trip to Hoover was in the works. That trip was mind boggling. Stacy Krammes personally took the time to give me the grand tour. This was followed by meeting the head of engineering, Skip Marquat. Stacy had made arrangements with Skip to open the Models vault for me. This was a store room that even the top brass were not permitted to enter. For the first time in my life I understood the meaning of term V.I.P.
About a year later Stacy forwarded a letter from a collector in the San Francisco area by the name of John Lucia who was interested in the models 150 and 700. Until hearing from John, I had no idea that there were other people interested in vacuum cleaners. But what really pleased me was that I now had a chance to share all the history I'd acquired over the years; and John in turn could teach me a great deal about Hoover.
In the Summer of 1982, John embarked on a driving tour of the country, and a trip to see both my collection and the Hoover Historical Center was on the list. This time I let John bask in the glory of this vacuum cleaner emporium. Not only did we see the center, but also got a factory tour. This tour included a look at how the disposable bags were made. This was on the third floor and John and I both heard one woman say to another "these people must be very special, nobody gets to the third floor"! As they had done with me, Stacy and Skip took us to lunch then Skip opened the 'vault'! Later that day, Stacy gave us a list of names, people who had toured the center and were interested in vacuum cleaners. Two of those names were Craig Long and Mike Pupek
John and I were not the typical tourists, we spent hours researching Hoover, hunted through archives at the local library, and damned near killed ourselves trying to locate the grave sites of all the Hoovers and the grave of Murray J. Spangler. In the course of conversation I said to John "do you think we should form a club"? his answer was "I doubt if it will get off the ground but it's worth asking"!
As John was continuing on to New York, I returned home and drafted a form letter to the five or six people on our list. By return mail letters came in saying the same thing. "Yes, form the club"! So on January 2, 1983 we published our first newsletter.
In the early days we had no officers, and there was no cost for membership. Back then we were a grass roots operation. I wrote the articles which dealt mostly with vacuum cleaner history, and profiles on various brands like Air-Way, Electrolux, and Kirby. John covered all the Hoover information and shared ads from his incredible paper collection. Basically we were a staff of two. My mother being an executive secretary corrected my spelling, typed my pages, and had the newsletters printed. But more than that, she turned me into an editor. From 1983 to early January of 90, Anne R. Taber was the backbone of the Vacuum Cleaner Colloctor'S club.
After our first issue went to press, John and I felt that we needed a logo and letterhead, so we contacted Stacy Krammes. Her daughter Liz, was a graphic artist who researched a non electric machine for us. What she found was a British machine from 1880 called the Baby Daisy.
In the fall of 1984, Mike Pupek was on business in Chicago and stopped to see me. While talking vacuum cleaner, he suggested a meeting of the five or six club members. I downplayed it saying "nobody is going to travel cross country to see a bunch of vacuum cleaners" Mike's answer was one of profound logic. "Put the question in the newsletter"! I did, and again letters poured in saying loud and clear they were ready to meet each other! Our first meeting was held the first weekend in May of 1985, and it was a huge success. Rules were established that weekend that are still in place today.
Three months later I bought a house in Naperville , Illinois, and made that our club headquarters, I also turned a spare bedroom into the Vacuum Cleaner hall of fame.
Like all clubs we've had our growing pains, but we continued to expand and in 1994 we held our first outside convention. We went back to where it all began. The Hoover Historical Center. The following year Bob Kautzman better known as the Vac-Hunter opened his home, sharing his massive collection with us. A week later I relocated to San Diego, California. That move caused me to leave the club. But that is another story.
|Post# 88319 , Reply# 1   1/6/2010 at 19:25 (3,568 days old) by eluxca ()  || |
Alex, this is a fascinating recount of the origin of the VCCC. The power of networking and passion for vacuums of a few has made this club and forum possible. Thank you Alex and John, and Stacy and Anne and Mike and Craig for all your work.
I have great memories of my first convention in 1995 in Allentown. The club was small and it was like being with family. Bob and Mike opened their homes to us and showed quite collection of vacuums and literature so massive that it was sensory overload! And I remember talking to you, Alex, about the model LX Electrolux and its "wrappers." You were very passionate about that machine and piqued my interest in it.
Roger Proehl and Charles Miller opened their home to me before and after the convention and they are good friends to this day. I will always cherish that time. I hope people coming into the club feel the same way at every convention.
|Post# 88325 , Reply# 2   1/6/2010 at 20:40 (3,568 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)  || |
Those are very kind words.
I remember that convention so well. Bob Kautzman was so nice to us. If you recall at the banquet I announced that I got approved for my house in San Diego. As it turned out, that was my last convention until I came back in 04. I prefer not to say why I left, (I think you know) but that problem no longer exists!
How interesting that I now reside about twenty miles north of Allentown, PA. and have just jump started my friendship with Bob Kautzman. By the way, the Electrolux model LX is still my favorite. I hope you can make the convention this year, would you believe it's our 25th. I still have to pinch myself to see that this is all true and not some wonderful dream. I do not exagerate when I say that I love you guys. This club has some truly beautiful people in it.
With deep, deep respect,
|Post# 88329 , Reply# 3   1/6/2010 at 21:26 (3,568 days old) by gottahaveahoove (Pittston, Pennsylvania, 18640)  || |
I'm about an hour from you, not far at all. I'm 45 minutes north of the "tunnel". You'll have to come to the next minimeet. It was supposed to be "Christmas", but, after my aunt died, things got backed up here, house, relatives, etc... and, my near permanent departure from here. ( did you know I'm now a "redneck and a ding dong) I actually find that funny and sad BUT there will be a nother one at my home. How I wish I could have been inside that HOOVER building when it was in operation.
|Post# 88337 , Reply# 4   1/6/2010 at 22:05 (3,568 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)  || |
I actually live in Slatington, I know the area you are in, as I go to the 12 Penny bar in Moosic at least once a month. The guy I work for (also my partner) is Ira Fine, owner of 'Fine Lodging' He is a distant cousin to 'Larry Fine' Larry of the Three Stooges.
I'm a bit of a redneck too. Lets get together.
|Post# 88399 , Reply# 5   1/7/2010 at 15:02 (3,567 days old) by kenkart (Mocksville, NC)  || |
The first convention I attended was in 95 at Allentown,I made some good friends there who are still friends today,although I dont get to see them that much,John Young and I have taken several road trips thru the years,also Roger and Charles ,Mike Rogers and I have done some traveling together,They were at my house in Lenoir on 9-11,being together helped all of us at that stressful time,also after Allentown I visited Charlie Lester in L.A. in the summer of 95,that was a fantastic 2 weeks that I will never forget,I have also been to the home of Michael Hayes in Ohio, who has more STUFF than anyone can believe,some of my very best friends are no longer with the group for various reasons I won't go into here , as a group grows you always have growing pains,some people get pushed aside, needlessly in most cases,I do think we had more fun in the early days when we were just a group of crazy guys collecting vacuum cleaners,now it seems it is more about other things than vacs,sorry guys this is just my opinion,I sincerely hope this club grows and matures thru the years, but never forget where you started,or who made you what you are. Hans Craig
|Post# 88411 , Reply# 6   1/7/2010 at 16:15 (3,567 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)  || |
As the song says " I remember it well"! You were at my place on Prince Lane right after I moved in, I hadn't even unpaked all the vacuum cleaners yet and I think you were the first member of the club to see that house.
Yes, there were growing pains and as Charles Richard put it we DID go into limbo, but we did NOT stop the newsletters, I worked my -----off to keep the club alive. (Though I often thought "who gives a damn"? Fact was that you, Gary Wahl, Michael Hayes, Craig Long, Don Emmet and a few others DID give a damn! You all cared very much.
Since my Charles died, I've really felt lost! Not depression in the true sense, but a dull heartache, a lack of interest, and a feeling of being a fish out of water. The old spark is gone, or should I say WAS gone. Realizing that we have 25 years behind us gave me that kick in the ass that said "stop feeling sorry for yourself". The mess with Steve in Sacramento, (the guy who said all those nasty things about me and tried to take my dog away) did some real emotional damage, but something happened on New Years day, I decided to live again, to take an ACTIVE part in this club and bring my collection home. My partner Ira and I have talked this over. No exact time yet as it will be a costly venture but it WILL happen.
Please keep in touch, 25 years is just the beginning.
|Post# 88412 , Reply# 7   1/7/2010 at 16:31 (3,567 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)  || |
Hans: I now reside in Slatington, PA. twenty miles from Allentown, and about thirty minutes from Bob (Vac-Hunter) Kautzman. I help run a small guest hotel called 'Fine Lodging'. The owner, Ira Fine, is both my boss and my partner. Actually his distant cousin was Larry Fine (Larry of the Three Stooges)!
I've started collecting again, got an Electrolux model XXX around Halloween and an Electrolux model L a few weeks later. Life is on the up swing. Actually helping Larissa with questions did a lot to bring me back, and I will be a part of this convention, not just 'phone it in'!
Please contact me privately. firstname.lastname@example.org
|Post# 88510 , Reply# 8   1/8/2010 at 18:54 (3,566 days old) by normvac (COLUMBUS, OHIO)  || |
Thank you for all of that club orgination and history.
Hopefully one day I will meet you. If you ever come
thru Ohio, southern at least. Let me know. I don't have
many vacuums (65) currently. Numbers are not my thing.
Even if you are coming to the Hoover Historical Center.
Let me know, I'd drive up to visit with you.
At any rate, I first met Mike in the club website. Back about
04, when I first joined. Could not believe he was only 1 hour
away. I went to see his amazing gathering of cleaners. Then
a year or so later I took Jeff Schoff and his son Jr. They
came away awe struck. I saw vacuums I had heard of and never seen. Some I never knew existed. When Mike told me that he had
about 600 vacuums I doubted seriously. My response was "may I come down and see them and take pictures". He said "Sure".
In the past two years since I moved to the north side of columbus. I ran into an aquitance from the 80's when I had
my Vacuum Shop. I had actually taken a lux Super J that he
wanted to sell, on consignment. I had not seen him in years!
So we visited a few days later and he asked If knew or had
heard of Mike Hayes !!! I told him Yes and the story.
It was Gary who had Met Mike all those years back for breakfast on every sat. AM. Went vacuum shopping. thrift
stores in Columbus, Garage/yard sales, any where! He actually
helped Mike acquire a lot of those 600 vacuums !!
You could have knocked me over!
Another connection, another link in our wonderful history that you were are part of in the beginning.
|Post# 88515 , Reply# 9   1/9/2010 at 00:34 (3,566 days old) by hygiene903 (Galion, OH)  || |
Enjoyed your informative account of the origins of the VCCC. I am about an hour's drive north of Norm, and hopefully I'll get to meet you sometime as well. I joined VCCC about a month or so after Norm did, and he was the first member of the club that I met in person, and we've been good friends ever since. I remember well the trip we took to visit Mike Hayes, and Norm was right--we were awestruck! What an amazing collection!
Since joining the club I've been to one convention (North Canton, 2008) and several mini-meets, at Norm's, John Young's, Tom Anderson's, and actually hosted a small one once at my house. Had a lot of good times and met a lot of wonderful people in the past several years and have made a couple observations. First is that everyone I have met is more like a friend I've known for long time rather than someone I've just met. And second, whether it's a convention, mini-meet, or a drop-in visit, the time always seems to go too fast!
|Post# 88711 , Reply# 10   1/11/2010 at 12:16 (3,564 days old) by kenkart (Mocksville, NC)  || |
I haven't talked to Mike in a while, but I do know several years ago he had a serious heart attack,and now does not drive on long trips,it would be nice if someone close to Ohio could make contact with him,and maybe talk him into going to the next convention.
|Post# 88720 , Reply# 11   1/11/2010 at 13:31 (3,563 days old) by caligula (Benton, Pa)  || |
And Mike Pupek, if you are out there please let me know. The first meeting in May of 85 was your idea. I remenber when you asked "think we'll have a twentith"? well we passed that five years ago.
Wouldn't it be nice to have all of the old crowd together. Mike Pupek, Craig Long, and John Lucia at this years convention?
|Post# 88721 , Reply# 12   1/11/2010 at 13:49 (3,563 days old) by luxg ()  || |
That would indeed be wonderful Alex. I am hoping that they will make a real effort to be there.
|Post# 88794 , Reply# 13   1/12/2010 at 19:32 (3,562 days old) by normvac (COLUMBUS, OHIO)  || |
Guys, I have to tell after Gary and I started talking vacuums
and trying them out. I got the whole story about him doing
sat. breakfast with Mike and all.
So Gary just told me a few weeks back that he talked to Mike.
Must have been about the first of Dec. Mike basicly does not
leave the little town of Greenfield ohio these days. So Gary
asked if he (Gary) and myself could drive down to see him and
talk vacuums. He said, NO just can't deal with any kind of
stress, which is how he sees, having company. So a phone call
is about as good as it gets, with Mike Hayes.