Thread Number: 9453
Kirby Model 515
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Post# 103737   7/19/2010 at 18:05 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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I finally got home from Colorado Springs last night, giving me a chance to look over my Kirby Model 515 that was given to me last week. The bag is actually in very good shape, I'll try removing it and hand washing it. There are no tears or holes. The screen printing is mostly worn off, but I think it gives it a more vintage look! LOL!

Post# 103738 , Reply# 1   7/19/2010 at 18:06 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Here's a photo with the bag inflated. I didn't dare fire it up with the original cord. It is very old, stiff, and brittle. However, the cord in my Classic III worked just fine.

Post# 103740 , Reply# 2   7/19/2010 at 18:08 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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A pose with my Model 516 on the left.

Post# 103742 , Reply# 3   7/19/2010 at 18:11 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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I noticed several changes between the 515 and 516. The 516's design is more refined. On the 515, the wiring runs through flexible conduit on the outside of the motor housing. The switch on the 515 is screwed on; however on the 516, it is integrated into the motor housing as one piece. Also, the motor brush caps are exposed on the 515. On the 516, that is eliminated.

Post# 103743 , Reply# 4   7/19/2010 at 18:12 (3,608 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Very nice, that's such a nice pair of sisters, older and younger. Thx for the pix :)

btw the bag on your 515 is a replacement - the one on it actually was first used on the 516. But it's nice nonetheless and in great shape. It wouldn't be all that hard to restore the logo if you are clever with handicrafts.

Post# 103746 , Reply# 5   7/19/2010 at 18:16 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Another noticeable difference is the absence of a rubber gasket on the fan case. Instead, the opening of the rug nozzle is designed as a flange that fits into the fan case in order to create a seal. I wonder how efficient that is. This vacuum has an aluminum fan too. I don't know if its the original, but it looks clean as a whistle. Absolutely no nicks or dings that I can see.

Post# 103747 , Reply# 6   7/19/2010 at 18:19 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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The vacuum was stored for about 30 years with the cord still wrapped up on the handle. But I'm guessing it's the original cord. The machine end is round. On the 516, the machine end of the cord was flattened out.

Post# 103748 , Reply# 7   7/19/2010 at 18:23 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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I doubt this is the original brush roll. However, it still appears to be made or horsehair. They seem to be pretty soft and don't agitate the floor like the synthetic fiber brush rolls.

Post# 103749 , Reply# 8   7/19/2010 at 18:25 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Well, that's the rundown of my Model 515. It runs at a higher pitch, so I'm guessing the bearings are dry. That's just a guess. But when I get around to rebuilding it this Fall, I'll replace both bearings.

Post# 103757 , Reply# 9   7/19/2010 at 19:10 (3,608 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

That is a replacement cord -- compare the shape of the machine-end plug to the one on my 515. (See link) This is a Belden cord, but it's after-market. The original has four curved 'ribs' that extend from the large end of the plug to the small one, and these ribs meet in a circular ring at the small end.

Still, too bad it's not in great shape -- I have always felt that the older Kirbys do not look right with the new flat plug -- it really spoils the "lines" of the motor housing.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO electrolux~137's LINK

Post# 103764 , Reply# 10   7/19/2010 at 19:49 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Yes, the cord is very dry and brittle. The outer insulation is all cracked. I'm not brave enough to use it. I don't want the shock of my life!!! The outlet end of the cord does have "Kirby" stamped on it.

Post# 103765 , Reply# 11   7/19/2010 at 19:51 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
Logo Restoration

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I wouldn't even begin to know how to restore the logo. That sounds like it would require a trip to Hobby Lobby. I always feel rather awkward going in there! LOL!

Post# 103767 , Reply# 12   7/19/2010 at 20:06 (3,608 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Wow, well then could you take a close-up of the Kirby logo on the plug? I've only seen this type of plug on non-branded Belden replacement cords!

Post# 103771 , Reply# 13   7/19/2010 at 20:32 (3,608 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        

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Here's a photo of the male end of the plug.

Post# 103785 , Reply# 14   7/19/2010 at 23:21 (3,608 days old) by electrolux~137 ()        

Well, knock me over with a feather! I've **never** seen a Kirby cord like this! Even if it's not in the greatest condition, I'd urge you to save it because it might be kinda rare.

I will say, though, I am fairly certain that it's not an original 515 cord -- all the 515 cords I've seen already have the newer, more angular logo on them. Maybe whoever owned this had a much-older Kirby and they swapped out the plug.

But again, every Kirby round-plugged cord I've seen, starting with the 505 (the first model to have a molded-plug cord, with the cord made of black smooth rubber), up to the 515 had the same end as I showed in the photo above. So this is kinda exciting!!!

Thx for all the photos, really made my day. :)

Post# 103788 , Reply# 15   7/20/2010 at 00:17 (3,607 days old) by kirbyclassiciii (Milwaukie, Oregon)        
The Fan On Your 515 is Original

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All 515s had 10-blade impeller fans, as it was the first such Kirby model to do so. The part # for the 10-blade fan used for the 515 was also used to replace the 6-blade fan used from models 3C through 514.

From the 516 onward, the way the fan and pulley was assembled was changed (due to the obvious new design of the motor starting with the 516), so no fan/pulley assembly from the early 500s are compatible with the later 500s.


Post# 103846 , Reply# 16   7/20/2010 at 18:03 (3,607 days old) by eurekastar (Amarillo, Texas)        
Horese Hair Brush Rolls

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Does anyone know when Kirby discontinued the Horse Hair Brush Roll? Also, this vacuum is actually in good shape for its age. The fan is so clean. I've seen fans on other vacuums that are filthy, dinged and cracked, and caked with who knows what. I think the only thing that it really seems to need are new bearings and a polish and a new headlight bumper. But not even the bearings sound terrible.

Post# 228506 , Reply# 17   4/15/2013 at 16:08 (2,607 days old) by Paul (USA)        
Re: Reply #2 Photo

I am trying to find out which Model--515 or 516--my aunt and uncle used to own.  They purchased it in 1956 and said it had a gray bag.  However, the bag on your 516 in the photo is conspicuously different.  Is the latter OEM or aftermarket?


In addition, were the attachment colors the same for both models?


Would someone please shed some "Kirby light" on my query?

Post# 228507 , Reply# 18   4/15/2013 at 16:25 (2,607 days old) by KirbyClassicIII (Milwaukie, Oregon)        

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Until the 516, all Kirby attachments were colored gray.

You may be interested in visiting these pages for more information:


Post# 228510 , Reply# 19   4/15/2013 at 16:45 (2,607 days old) by Paul (USA)        

As always, I appreciate your time and response.  The attachments' color will provide a definite answer.  I also appreciate the links to Charles' info.  Now if I could just get to the bottom of my parents' former Kirby model id...



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