SURVEY OF ELECTROLUX TANK-TYPE VACUUM CLEANERS
SOLD IN THE U.S. FROM 1924-2001

Page Three (Models LX-S)
 
 



Model LX

The Model LX, like the earlier XXX, also saw a number of design and aesthetic changes over the course of its approximately three-and-a-half-year production. Again, most of these changes were not made simultaneously; however, the LX can be easily grouped into three main categories.


Model LX - 1952

The earliest LX has an ornate red and yellow logo on the side. The area where the hose plugs into the machine is polished aluminum, as is the little panel over the cord connector. Optional cord winder was chrome-plated. Color: Top side - blue leatherette; underside - dark turquoise-blue wrinkle-finish paint.

The LX featured a new dirt-disposal system using "self-sealing" disposable bags (which were originally called "wrappers"). Electrolux heralded this new innovation with great fanfare in luxurious, full-color, two-page ads in magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, etc. "THE CLEANER YOU NEVER HAVE TO EMPTY!" the ads trumpeted. And, indeed, you did not.

When the bag became full, quite an elaborate chain-reaction took place: The machine’s motor stopped, the front cover popped open, the bag's rubber membrane would seal shut, and the bag would be ejected from the cleaner by a metal arm — sometimes at a distance of several feet! This system, when it worked, was quite spectacular. However, in actual use it sometimes proved problematic.

Customers soon found that under certain conditions, the bag would eject too soon. (I guess you could say the early LXs suffered from premature ejaculation!) This would happen when cleaning up very fine, dense, powdery dirt. Bags would eject with only a very small amount of dirt, and customers began complaining about the expense of replacing the bags so often.

So Electrolux engineers came up with the idea of providing the “Basement and Attic Key,” a little metal tool that customers could wedge against the automatic bag release lever to prevent it from tripping too soon. Customers were advised to store the key inside the cover where the cord connects to the cleaner; and you will occasionally find a machine with the little key still tucked in there.

This problem would be more satisfactorily addressed in subsequent versions of the LX with the addition of the new automatic suction control dial.

The first paper bags or "wrappers" were made of a single-ply paper construction. Electrolux engineers apparently did not figure out until the cleaners had been put to actual use that the bags clogged up very quickly, rendering the machine inefficient and often triggering the bag ejector device. This was addressed some time between 1952 and 1954, as a mimeographed letter dated 3/54 sent out to customers states "Our record of your Electrolux Cleaner purchase shows that it's about time ... [for] you to check your supply of self-sealing wrappers and [for us] to send you an order form which you can mail to get a new supply ....You will find your [order of] eighteen crisp new wrappers greatly improved. They are lined for greater filtering of the dust...."
 

Model LX - 1954

A more sophisticated bag-ejector control system was integrated into the cleaner. A dial located underneath the front cover could control how soon the bag ejection system would kick in. For normal dusting, the dial was supposed to be set at 3, then for very light use the customer could move it back to 2 or 1. When cleaning heavy, powdery dirt, the dial could be moved up, with 6 being the position where the bag would not eject until it was very full.

The first LX suction adjustment knobs were made of aluminum, about 5/8" in diameter, with six "discrete" settings. Later, clear plastic knobs with a ridged surface with red lettering were introduced which were easier to turn. Six settings were still provided but the knobs could also be set anywhere between the six settings, for a truly custom adjustment.

(Many earlier LXs were were retrofitted with the new control knobs. Electrolux dealers and salesmen did this upgrade at no charge to the customers. (In fact, it’s somewhat difficult to find LXs without the dials as most of them were apparently upgraded.)

The later production run of the LX also underwent some cosmetic changes, probably for economic reasons. The most notable change was that the lovely red and yellow logo was done away with and became just an aluminum strip. The area where the hose plugs into the machine became hammertone blue, as did the little panel over the cord connector. Optional cord winder also hammertone blue instead of chrome-plated as before. The thumb screw for removing the blower end was improved, becoming a four-sided knob rather than the earlier round knob that was harder to turn (especially after it had remained in place for, like, 40 years).

Model LXI - 1955

Model LXI has some fairly significant differences from the LX:

(1) The blower end where the cord winder attached looks exactly like the rear end of a Model E except that it is chrome-plated, and a chrome “halo” for storing the cord was provided when the optional cord winder was not purchased. A small metal hook for attaching the cord is located on the top-rear-side of the machine where the halo is attached.

(2) The cord winder is the swing-open type, rather than the kind that comes off. (Thus, the halo and swing-open cord winder were first introduced on the LXI and not on the E as some people believe.)

(3) There’s a rear axle attached to the runners, with two rubber wheels. (Not to be confused with the after-market wheels that clamped onto the ends of runners as two separate attachments. The LXI actually had a separate rear axle for the wheels.

(4) Also, the area where the bag storage clamp used to be was done away with; in its place is a large rubber caster that makes the machine glide along as if it weighs nothing!

Last but not least, the LXI featured a newly designed rug nozzle that was partly made of blue plastic; and the very last of the LXIs had blue-plastic dusting brushes and upholstery nozzles (but both still of the older types).

This machine was made less than a year and is very rare and hard to find.

(Note: The model number ID for the LX and LXI is stamped into the metal housing under the handle grip, in very tiny letters.)

For more LX and LXI photos, see The Model LX Page.


 


Model E - 1954

The first model to feature the combination floor tool and combination dusting brush. Hose: Dark gray w/ bright blue arrows; hammertone-blue machine-end coupler. This was the first machine to be all-painted (hammertone blue) without leatherette or chrome other than a little trim here and there.

Early E rug/floor nozzle had a matte black fiber label (same stuff as crevice tools were made of) on the top side that had the lettering “ELECTROLUX-TOP” in shiny engraved-like lettering. Hard to see. Next version of this tool had the same label made of polished aluminum with the lettering reversed-out of black overprinting.

Last E had a set of stabilizing feet (blue plastic) around front caster to prevent the machine from toppling over when sharply pulled by hose.

Early E rear wheels were black plastic with three hollow cutouts on each side. Later E had solid black plastic wheels.


 


Model E-Automatic ("AE") - 1956

The first Electrolux to have a vinyl hose and suction release vent in the handle-end hose coupler. The hose has the same color scheme as LX/E but is vinyl instead of cloth. Early AE cord winder looks exactly like LXI/E winder -- e;g;. all hammertone blue. Improved combination floor nozzle had spring-clip added to hold it to the wand better. Disposable bag no longer ejects from the cleaner; the end now pops open and the motor stops. This machine is all hammertone-blue like the E, and can be mistaken for an E if you don’t look closely. The main difference is in the front cover, which hinges open — the E cover comes completely off — and there is a yellow dial for adjusting the automatic shut-off function. Front cover also has the word “Automatic” in yellow lettering.
 

Model E-Automatic - 1957

The later AE had a few slight changes. It was the first model with light-weight brushed-aluminum wands. Cord winder has an aluminum strip added around its perimeter (like the AF winder).

New "Turb-O-Tool" suction-powered accessory unit with floor polisher, drill, sander, rotary saw, hedge clippers (!) etc. Replaced the earlier air-powered floor polisher attachment.

 



A Floor Polisher sidebar:

Just a note about the early-style floor polishers, to fill up some of this space!

There were three basic versions of the early "air-powered floor polisher and scrubber."

The first version, for the XXX, was gray hammertone with gray or bluish-gray rubber trim.

The second version, for the LX (and early E), was hammertone blue with dark turquoise rubber trim.

The third version, for the early AE (and late E) was hammertone blue with dark grayish-blue rubber trim.


 


Model T - 1956

The Model T or “Thrift” Model is one of the two rarest Electrolux models, not taking into consideration the scarcity now of all pre XXX machines -- I mean rarest in terms of quantity produced and still found -- the other being the model 20 or XX.

Electrolux basically cleaned off the shelves to make this very humble and austere machine: The body was simply a piece of rolled-up sheet metal that took an XXX-style cloth dirt bag; it had a handle from LX; and the switch & wheels from the Model E. It had a very basic attachment set: LX-style woven cloth (not vinyl) hose, 2-section wand, combination floor tool and combination dusting tool.

It’s a pretty cheesy looking machine but has powerful suction (and is noisier than other Electroluxes of that era) due to its very simple design — it’s just a hammertone blue can with a motor in it.

Electrolux introduced this model to compete with the “economy” models from other makers, but it turned out to be a huge flop and a great embarrassment to the company and was very quickly pulled from the market. Seems they went TOO far with the “budget” considerations.

It sold for $59.75 while the AE, the top-of-the-line model, sold for $89.75. You may not think that 30 bucks is much difference for such a more deluxe machine, but keep in mind that 30 bucks was a lot more in 1956 than it is today!


 


Model S - 1956

This is a really cute and dainty model! It is probably the lightest-weight machine they ever made. Color: Machine is pale blue; the ends are a creamy off-white.

There is no special place to store the cord (no halo like other models and no available cord winder). You have to wrap the cord around the machine. Hose: Light blue with white arrow-patterns running through it. Dusting brush & floor/rug tool in color coordinated light blue and off-white.

Early combination floor/rug tool same as model E, with no spring clamp in the swivel connector to hold the wand; then the newer AE-type swivel connector with spring-clamp, was provided.

Model S - 1957

The later S is identical to the earlier one except that it featured the new-style combination rug nozzle (with narrower suction opening on the rug side) and new hose (blue with white stripes instead of arrow-patterns). Later S also has little rubber tips on front cover clamps. A third variation on the rug/floor toolwas provided in the style of the late Model F with narrower rug suction channel and rubber bumper.

 



 



Historical Narrative

Electrolux Today

Models V through XII

Models XXX through XX

(Models LX through S)

Models F through G

Models L through Present

Electrolux Patents 1924 to 1964
 

My Web Site “Home Page”


 

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