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The Galaasen Collection

About the Collectors, in their own words:

We are Ingeborg Galaasen and Ronnie Nebelung, a young Norwegian couple living in Oslo, the capitol of Norway.

Ronnie is 29 years old, educated as an animator. At the time he is working freelance on commercials, and also working on a manuscript for a short-movie.

Ingeborg is 22, educated as a preschool teacher, and at the time studying at the Norwegian State Academy of Music, to be a music-therapist.

 

I think we can say that Ronnie was the one who first fell in love with cleaners. In 1994 he spotted one in a jeans-store. It was a part of their exhibition, and they did not want to sell it. Two years later, on a party at some of his friends' old house, he found a beautiful green Holland Electro in a corner. Exactly the same type as he saw in the jeans-store. And it was love at first sight! Luckily, they donated the machine to him, when they saw the sparkling in his eyes...

This was our first, but surely not the last. We have now been collecting for about a year and a half, so you can say it is quite a new hobby for both of us. And now we have just moved to a bigger apartment. Last year we lived in a small flat, about 24 square metres with our 15 vacuum-cleaners... Now, we have doubled the number of square metres, and the number of cleaners is still increasing. At the moment we are waiting for response from several people who are in the collecting business, or owns second-hand stores.

Here is a little about our collection:

We have mostly European types, like Electrolux, Holland Electro, Wilfa, Nilfisk, Prior and Populaer. We have 20 machines in our living-room/bedroom here in Oslo, and three others in Tonsberg, at Ronnies parents' house. Most of them are from the 40'ies, the 50'ies or the early 60'ies. We pick our cleaners mostly after design. They have to look cool. Most of them look like a combination between a space-ship, a submarine and a nuclear-bomb! We like especially those with lots of chrome.

The Norwegian Radio Broadcasting was here in August 1997 to interview us on our collection. So, the whole country heard about us! We had thought we might hear from some other people interested in vintage vacuum cleaners; but we did not get the response we hoped for; in fact, we weren't contacted by a single collector! So we figure we are still quite alone about having this hobby here in Norway.

After the first radio interview, things have really started rolling here in Oslo. "Dagbladet", the second biggest tabloid newspaper in Norway, contacted us. They wanted to write about us and our collection, and it turned out as a two-page story with really nice photos.

In late September 1997, we had a journalist and a professional photographer here on a two hour visit. They came from the "Collectors Magazine". This story will be printed in December or January.

 

 

 


Model: Wilfa W 3 A
Year: Mid 50ies

Made in Norway

Description: 450 watt, red painted metal body, chrome cover on both ends, black plastic handle.

Where we found it: Ronnie's father bought it in a second hand store in Tonsberg.

 


Model: Wilfa W 1 L
Year: Mid 50ies

Made in Norway

Description: 450 watt, silver painted metal body, red painted («eloxert» - We don't know the English term, it is a see-through burgundy colour) metal cover on both ends, black metal and chrome handle.

Where we found it: Bought it in a Salvation Army-second hand store in Oslo.

 


Model: Wilfa W1 K
Year: Mid 50ies

Made in Norway

Description: 450 watt, blue metal body, chrome cover on both ends, black metal and chrome handle.

Where we found it: Bought it in a second hand store in Oslo.

 


Model: Wilfa W-5
Year: ?

Made in Sweden

Description: Wilfa's top-of-the-line machine, 450 watt, green painted «body», came in different colors, with chrome cover on both ends.

Where we found it: Bought it from a man who had it placed on a pedestal in his little restaurant here in Oslo. We got it after he went out of business.

 


 


Model: Electro Lux Z-25
Year: ?

Made in Norway

Description: 310 watt, bake-o-lite rear end, metal on the front, green leather imitation covering over metal «body».

Where we found it: Bought it in a second hand store in Oslo.

 


Model: Nilfisk S-59
Year: ?

Made in Denmark

Description: 450 watt motor which sits in the top, aluminum or steel chassis, top handle in bake-o-lite.

Where we found it: We got it from a friend of Ingeborgs mother living in Odense, Denmark. We told here about our interest in old vacuum cleaners, while we were staying at here place during a vacation last year. And she simply handed it over as a gift.

We now have two of these. The other one is a S-55, 375 watt made in Norway. The only thing we know about the Danish company, is that there were to men named Nilsen and Fiske, who started production of vacuum cleaners, after failing in the motorcycle business.

 


Model: Erres SZ 11
Year: ?

Made in Holland (after a Norwegian patent)

Description: 215 watt, green painted (with small spotts of dark green) metal «body» with chromed metal covers on both ends, including the handle.

Where we found it: Bought it in a second hand store in Oslo.

 


Model: Holland Electro E4
Year: ?

Made in Holland

Description: 400 watt, green painted metal «body» with green painted metal covers on both ends, plastic handle.

Where we found it: I found it in a big old house that some school mates of me (Ronnie that is) had rented, and they gave it to me. This is the first one we got, and it looks exactly the same as one I found in a jeans store four years ago. It was a part of an exhibition they had, and I fell in love immediately. But the people there did not want to sell it. So I was glad when I found one that was identical. (Fate?)

 


Model: Prior PS 1
Year: ?

Made in Norway

Description: 375 watt, blue leather imitation covering with chrome cover on both ends, leather handle.

Where we found it: Bought it in a second hand store in Oslo.

 


Model: Holland Electro BS-3
Year: ?

Made in Holland

Description: 330 watt, cream painted metal «body», red painted metal cover on both ends, leather handle.

Where we found it: Bought it in a second hand store in Oslo.

 


Model: Populær Luxe
Year: ?

Made in Norway

Description: 240 watt, green psychedelia plastic cover on metal «body», chrome cover on both ends, leather handle, three wheels.

Where we found it: Bought it in a second hand store in Oslo.

It`s in near mint condition including all the extra equipment. This is one of our favourites.

 


Model: Ingeborg, female, and Ronnie, male
Year: 1974 and 1967

Made in Norway, both of them...

Description: Both are in mint condition, with all the extra equipment intact. Both are one of a kind, extremely hard to find.

 

 

In September of 1997, Ronnie contacted the retired boss in the Wilfa company. He was a real nice gentleman, and he told Ronnie the whole story of the company. This man is the son of the man who originally started Wilfa in Dec. 1948. It is really quite special to be able to talk to those who were there, and started it all, especially because our Wilfas are some of our favorites.

The Wilfa company was established 28th of December 1948, by Fritz Ragnar Wilhelmsen. The first cleaners were produced half a year later. His son, 21-year-old Jan Wilhelmsen, started to work at the factory in 1955, after spending three years at the EFA factory in Holland. Jan Wilhelmsen, now retired, is the man who has told us what he knows.

The factory was placed in Vika in Oslo centrum, but the building does no longer exist.

Because of the import regulations after the war, it was not allowed to import cleaners, only cleaner engines. Parts to complete the cleaners, were bought from different places in Norway:
        Ends and "bodies" from T.H. Christiansen, in Moss
        Bake-o-lite and plastic parts from "Norplast" in Trondheim
        The hose and other parts of rubber, from "Rovde Gummi" in Mjondalen

The design of the Wilfa cleaners was originally from Holland.

The first cleaner was named W-1. The W-5 (the green Wilfa you can see on one of our images) was in production from 1953 till 1957/58.

From 1955 they started making them with white plastic parts, as an option. If there is an H in the type description, it means that it has got wheels ("hjul" in Norwegian).

The production was completed in 1958/59. After this, Wilfa was no longer produced in Norway, but imported from Holland. The design also changed after this period, to the more "boxy" type.

Wilfa, Norway, had no such things as a colour-map. An exsact dating of the cleaners is very difficult, because the production numbers have not been written down. The company has no books with dates or numbers. No spare-parts exist anymore, because the spare-part warranty only reached till ten years after the production. In general, the cleaners had a five year warranty.

We will try to get our hands on a photograph of the old factory building where Wilfa was produced. Maybe the Wilfa Service Center will help us on that matter.

 

Here are a few Wilfas on display in the factory.

 

 

 

 


Ronnie poses in the Wilfa factory -- how can he seem so calm around all those old vacuum cleaners?!

 

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(All text copyright © 2001 by Charles Richard Lester. All Images on this page (except background tiles) are property of, and copyright © 2001 by Ingeborg and Ronnie Galaasen. You are welcome to disseminate information or graphics from this web page for non-commercial use only but only after requesting and receiving permission by the publisher or owners of the images. Please apply to Charles Richard Lester: one_three_sevenat1377731.com (change "at" to the "@" symbol). Thank you for appreciating the value of creativity.