Thread Number: 8843
The Air-Way Super Chief Arrives!!
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Post# 98100   5/11/2010 at 17:53 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Some of you know that I purchased an Air-Way Super Chief in February. It came complete with hose, tools, bags and original boxes.

It had been used but well maintained and still had the original cored, wheels and bag.

It needed some, "spa treatment", to look as good as it's sister machines in my collection.

So, finally, after 3 months of getting her pretty, here is the debut.

Post# 98101 , Reply# 1   5/11/2010 at 17:53 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Now a front shot looking down.

Post# 98102 , Reply# 2   5/11/2010 at 17:54 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Turned on with dirt finder headlight illuminated.

Post# 98103 , Reply# 3   5/11/2010 at 17:55 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Okay.............where is the dirt?

Post# 98104 , Reply# 4   5/11/2010 at 17:56 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Brush roll with the infamous beater bars. Beautiful design way ahead of it's time.

Post# 98105 , Reply# 5   5/11/2010 at 18:01 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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The arrow here shows the switch used to turn on/off the brush roll motor. Remember, this is a twin motored Air-Way!

A great improvement over the earlier model 35, the Chief. You had to unplug the brush roll motor from the main motor to use the attachments.

On the Super Chief, you just flicked the toggle switch, turned the swivel power dome, attached the hose to the hollow handle and voila! You had above the floor cleaning with wands and tools.

Very innovative for 1936.

Post# 98106 , Reply# 6   5/11/2010 at 18:02 (3,675 days old) by crevicetool (GA )        
Holy freakin' cow Charlie!!!!!

That unit is just absolutely gorgeous!!! Any chance it might be available for looking at at any upcoming events maybe huh?



Post# 98107 , Reply# 7   5/11/2010 at 18:03 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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This locking device allowed the rug nozzle to swivel to reach under furniture, when unlocked. When locked, the rug nozzle stayed in one position for rug cleaning.

(Sorry the pic is not clearer.)

Post# 98108 , Reply# 8   5/11/2010 at 18:19 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        
My Vintage Air-Way Line Up.........

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Here are 3 of the rarest Air-Way's on the planet.

From RIGHT to left is the first twin motored upright, the Chief that debuted in 1935. This is the one with the, "reverse", revolving brush roll. It used the wood pulp cellulose paper bag, (patented by Air-Way in 1920), and had the Air-Way Indicator swivel dome that allowed suction through the hollow handle. The hose was attached to the handle and then you added the wands and tools.

Then, came the Super Chief, circa. 1936 with improvements that I mentioned above. This time the brush roll went around in the traditional way. The head light was added as well. Minor changes were made to the rug nozzle. The hose still attached to the hollow handle.

The last of the, "arguably", great Air-Way's is the DirtMaster, circa. 1938. It had a single motor with twin fans and a unique 2 belt design for it's time. It also had a dirt finder headlight. Instead of the hose being fitted to a hollow handle, there was a small opening on the side of the motor and the hose slipped over a tube. The suction was diverted from the brush roll to the tube.

In an article in one of the professional vacuum magazines the author was quoted as saying in regards to the DirtMaster, "collectors would mortgage their homes to obtain one."

I am happy to report I have acquired all 3 of these vacuums in the last five years and no mortgaging was necessary! (But, it is nice to know I have a nice little treasure trove!)

Post# 98109 , Reply# 9   5/11/2010 at 18:22 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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And, lastly, here I am with my baby's! Since I got serious about collecting some number of years ago, these are the three vacuums that I have always wanted.

Talk about good Karma! I can now die a happy man! (Not for a while anyway.)

I feel extremely fortunate to have found these vacuums and they are in a loving home. All work perfectly but they will not be used other than for conventions or mini-meets.

Post# 98110 , Reply# 10   5/11/2010 at 18:23 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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The Super Chief may show up in Austin.................

You will have to wait and see. If it does, I will probably do a, "Show And Tell", about it.

Thanks for your kind words.


Post# 98112 , Reply# 11   5/11/2010 at 21:32 (3,675 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
Holy Grandmother of Paper Bag Vacuums, Charlieman!!!

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Stunning and awesome.


Post# 98113 , Reply# 12   5/11/2010 at 21:40 (3,675 days old) by compactelectra (Palm Springs)        

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Where are pictures of the attachments and hose?


Post# 98114 , Reply# 13   5/11/2010 at 22:13 (3,675 days old) by airwaylady (Milwaukee, WI)        


So happy to see you beaming over your beautiful Air-Way Models that look as good as the day they were built!
Was happy to help with the restorations!
Hope to see the "Super Chief" in Austin!
Happy Vacuuming!!


Post# 98115 , Reply# 14   5/11/2010 at 22:16 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Thank you for your comments!


Pictures of the hose and attachments are available each for $49.95 each via my Paypal account.

Kidding of of those tomorrow. I'm too worn out to post tonight.

(Still look good in my 2-piece suit with tres fabu sunburst broach!)


Post# 98116 , Reply# 15   5/11/2010 at 22:24 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Tania my sweet darling friend and sister,

THANK YOU for all your help with the restorations. Your knowledge and love of the Air-Way product has been invaluable to me.

We share a love of the Air-Way vacuums and in part that brought us together. Then we formed something special on our own.

I look forward to seeing you in 3 weeks in Austin and I kind of think the Super Chief may make an appearance! So many in our club like the vintage Air-Way's.

See you soon!

Charlie XO

Post# 98122 , Reply# 16   5/12/2010 at 06:43 (3,675 days old) by petek (Ontario)        

Everything looks fabulous. The vacs too.

Post# 98123 , Reply# 17   5/12/2010 at 07:33 (3,675 days old) by petek (Ontario)        


Post# 98124 , Reply# 18   5/12/2010 at 08:34 (3,675 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Spoken like a true smart ass! (Ya know I love ya like my luggage.)

Post# 98125 , Reply# 19   5/12/2010 at 10:36 (3,675 days old) by a007kirbyman (--->> Originally My Mom <<--- (now Wisconsin))        
Charlie & the Air-Ways...

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Hello Charlie,

Congratulations on putting together 3 stunning condition Air-Ways in you collection.

(Now I recall why the model(s) sounded familiar in your email. I read info about them & it wasn't registering at the time. CRS, I presume! ~~LOL)

Cheers & hagd all,


Post# 98126 , Reply# 20   5/12/2010 at 10:44 (3,675 days old) by vinvac (Dubuque IA)        

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Great Vacuum. Your collection is Awesome, everything is in like new condition.

Looking forward to see you in Austin.


Post# 98127 , Reply# 21   5/12/2010 at 12:19 (3,675 days old) by hamiltonbeachbo ()        
Congrats on your Airway collection

Absolutely amazing!!
3 stunning machines!!
You have great reason to be proud.

Post# 98133 , Reply# 22   5/12/2010 at 13:43 (3,674 days old) by petek (Ontario)        

(Ya know I love ya like my luggage.)

I'll take that as a compliment seeing as you didn't say "lost luggage" that would make me angry LOL

Post# 98136 , Reply# 23   5/12/2010 at 14:53 (3,674 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

I have the one key machine missing in Charlie's lovely set -- a Green Goddess. It needs to be cleaned up but is complete. I can't get to it at the moment to take photos of it as it is in storage.

It's a neat machine but pretty garish looking. The painted trim is done in a metallic lime-green color, and the bag is purple with green lettering. It's a unique sort of paint that I've never seen anywhere else. It kinda resembles hammertone except that instead of the mottled, textured look, it looks more like a very fine crackleature effect with traces of metallic yellow and gold running through it that reflect the sunlight.

The other thing that distinguishes the Green Goddess is that it has a portable handle like the old Kirbys. The long hollow handle comes off and a small metal handle clamps onto the top of the machine.

Post# 98138 , Reply# 24   5/12/2010 at 16:08 (3,674 days old) by portable (Corvallis, OR)        
Charlie -

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Those are 3 wonderful sweeties. And I learned something new about the tool conversion on the DirtMaster. Fabulous! JL

Post# 98139 , Reply# 25   5/12/2010 at 17:28 (3,674 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Charles Richard,

I think the Green Goddess is fascinating. At last year's convention, I did a presentation on Air-Way's and I used the very first 55, (borrowed from Duane Taylor), a MINT Green Goddess, (loaned from Stan Hagan), and then my own Chief and DirtMaster.

Stan Hagan's Green Goddess looks it was made yesterday at the Air-Way factory. The person that owned it used it only to fluff pillow feathers! So it never got any real, "ruff and tumble", use.

Maybe some day I will find one as I should add a straight suction vacuum to the collection. My favorites, obviously, are the upright revolving brush models.

THANKS everyone for your kind words. If is was not for the club, I probably would not have found all of these wonderful Air-Way's. So many folks have helped in so many ways.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in Austin!

Charlie W.

Post# 98143 , Reply# 26   5/12/2010 at 18:26 (3,674 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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My Goddess is not in the greatest of shape cosmetically but it runs great. The bag, with two spring-loaded support rods that clip between the motor and ring switch, is severely faded with the silk-screened graphics barely legible.

But enough paint remains to show it is a two layer application. The black fiber handle tube is first painted that garish lime green with a second (varnish?) coat of a transparent mottled gold hammertone-ish effect that indeed does shine & gleam with an inner light.

Post# 98145 , Reply# 27   5/12/2010 at 18:36 (3,674 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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Found mine over 30 years ago at a junk shop for $10. I didn't really know what it was or it's significance at the time. It was just so kinky looking I had to have it. :-)

I later got an orphaned bag but the attachment points are different - the removable rods are now steel bars rivetednto the bag with fold over clasps to hold the halves together. From another model?

But with the fresher looking bag were the fiber crevice tool and dusting brush that fits on to the crevicetool - I have identified these from an Air-Way manual.

But what about these two hammertone blue & black rubber bumper Air-Way nozzles?

Post# 98146 , Reply# 28   5/12/2010 at 18:37 (3,674 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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These two nozzles with hammertone blue top plates, with a de-pressible section that would let a long thin upholstery nozzle slide in...

Charlie, which model do these go with?

Post# 98147 , Reply# 29   5/12/2010 at 18:39 (3,674 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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The angled bristles and felt pad - both solidly attached.

Obviously I need to find the Air-Way model these go with. :-)

Dave, ever hopeful.

Post# 98173 , Reply# 30   5/12/2010 at 22:21 (3,674 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Those go to the Air-Way Sanitizor model 66, (circa. 1949), which is blue to match your tools. They did indeed slide onto the floor nozzle and were quite effective.

People at the time and still today, rave about the felt floor pad. The bristled attachment worked fairly efficiently considering the time frame. We know today that a dental notch brush strip or shorter brush row in the front work better.

The steel bars are different from the round rods. I think, and I emphasize, THINK, the steel bars are from earlier models probably starting with the model F from 1928.

And, yes, you are correct, the dusting brush did slide onto the crevice tool. The dusting brush did not become it's own entity until later in production.

I wanted to post a pic of your Green Goddess that I had access too, but had problems doing so, so I am glad you did. Your model is very nice! I've seen several over the years and most have not aged as well.

But, we have to keep in mind these vacuums are from an era long passed by. They also were made of materials that probably were not designed to last 75 years!

Hoovers, arguably, seem to last somewhat better. My Hoover model 150 from somewhere from 1936 to 1939 seems to be far sturdier and interestingly enough, you can still find other 150's out there to get parts from!

Try finding a bumper for a Air-Way DirtMaster! Or an outer cloth bag. Or even disposable paper bags for that matter. I suppose this is why the Air-Way vacuums are so collectible and rare.

Thanks for the great pics and now go find a model 66!

Charlie W.

Post# 98179 , Reply# 31   5/12/2010 at 23:06 (3,674 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        
Further delving reveals the conundrum that perplexes me.

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Charlie, I do have two each of the Models 55, 66 and 77.

I'm sure you meant to type 55 aka the Hydrant.

Now, I have tools and tool bags and caddies for all three models but I suspect the tools that came with my 55 are actually from a 66, or a late 55, when a change was made to produce separate all in one aluminum cast nozzle bodies - with the felt polishing pad a clip-on interchangeable attachment...

...because I do not have the slim upholstery nozzle these 55 'feet' are designed to slide on to, as shown in this page from the 55 manual.

Also, the wands & floor nozzles/tools that came with my 55s are not compatible with the 66/77/88 etc wands - and vice versa - in that the 55 tool flange ring is set further from the wand end and the end taper is larger. The right tools on the right J wands go together only one way. The retaining tab is different as well.

Curiouser and curiouser...Inquiring minds need to know. :-)


Post# 98180 , Reply# 32   5/12/2010 at 23:15 (3,674 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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Oh wait!

I do have that upholstery nozzle, after all. It came with a second 55 snap-on caddy bag I snatched up last year. Silly me. I shall correct the contents of the 55 saddlebag forthwith...

I also have a triangular Air-Way dusting brush ( like the dirty gray one in the picture) in black rubber, which colour matches the 55 floor tool bumpers. Yippee!

All it takes is a nudge to the noggin that threads like this inflict to make connections that bring it all together from the various spare parts bins, nooks and crannies.

Thanks, Charlie.


Post# 98181 , Reply# 33   5/12/2010 at 23:19 (3,674 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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Previous manual page for Illustration 6 & 7

Post# 98194 , Reply# 34   5/13/2010 at 06:34 (3,674 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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Here's what I mean about the wand to tool difference. As to whether this change was made during the run of the 55 or began with the 66, I simply do not know.

You can see the upper wand has a longer end beyond the clamp ring.

The top tools will fit only on the top wand and the lower only on the lower wand.

The bore inside the lower tools is only as deep as the wand end and so the tools are not interchangeable on the wands.

Post# 98198 , Reply# 35   5/13/2010 at 08:39 (3,674 days old) by luxg ()        
Wow Charlie,

Just beautiful. I remember how happy you were when you got that machine. All of the work you have put into the restoration was sure worth it. I too hope that we will be able to see it in Austin. Your entire collection is fantastic.


Post# 98202 , Reply# 36   5/13/2010 at 11:50 (3,674 days old) by air-waycharlie (USA)        

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Due to some shipping issues, I probably won't bring it to Austin. When a convention is drivable for me, then I will bring all of them.

It is just too risky to ship. If anything gets banged and broken, I'll be SOL!

See you soon!


Post# 98215 , Reply# 37   5/13/2010 at 17:20 (3,673 days old) by aeoliandave (Stratford Ontario Canada)        

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My apologies for inadvertently hijacking Charlie's thread.

I do want to get in this final nozzle/wand picture. Two types of latches for securing the nozzles so that they can swivel freely. The early one is a simple screwed on and adjustable tab and the other is a spring-loaded 'hook' catch. As I observe, the two wand ends are different enough in length, diameter and taper that the nozzles will not fit on each other's wands.

More information on this and other things 55/66 I will continue over on Pete's new 55 thread...

CLICK HERE TO GO TO aeoliandave's LINK

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