A SURVEY OF ELECTROLUX

TANK-TYPE VACUUM CLEANERS

SOLD IN THE U.S. FROM 1924-2001

Notes:

i. Some Electrolux models overlapped one another or were manufactured concurrently with other models. I felt it more logical to group different versions of the same models together – than to go by strict chronological order – to make the list easier to follow.

ii. This survey only includes tank-type machines sold in the U.S.; I have not included uprights, central systems, commercial machines, floor polishers, or machines made or sold in other countries. This is not due to chauvinism but lack of knowledge. So I leave it to someone else to come up with those surveys.

iii. Most of the photos used in this report are from my personal Electrolux archives; however, I did look to other sources for some images. Those sources included eBay auctions, postings to various vacuum cleaner on-line forums, other web sites, and images that people have sent me. If I have used an image that belongs to you and you would like credit for it, I will be happy to do so; or if you do not want the image here at all just let me know and I will remove it.

iv. Special thanks to fellow collectors Matt Straub, R. J. Vanik, Douglas Elliot, and Charlie Calcasola for proofreading this web site and for providing a number of the images used herein.
 


Model V - 1924 Early

There were three variations on the Model V. The very earliest Model V simply consists of a motor housing, a long wand and a nozzle. The user operated the cleaner by holding the machine by its pistol grip and using it as a "broom-vac."

The tank body is covered with dark, brownish-maroon leatherette. A long, brown, woven-cloth carrying handle extends out to a shoulder strap.

 
Model V - 1924 Late

The second version is as the above but had several major additions: A detachable set of runners that were rounded off on the ends giving the machine somewhat of a "sleigh" appearance, along with a long, flexible metal hose (lined on the inside with rubber) one inch in diameter and 9 feet long, and a more comprehensive set of dusting attachments. When the operator wished to use the machine as a tank cleaner, the metal runner would be attached and the machine would rest on the floor.

Attachments include one straight wand with two "male" ends, and one wand with two "female" ends, with one end of the wand curving around to make a handle. Metal rug nozzle, non-swivel neck; metal upholstery tool. Wood and metal floor brush, and dusting brush.

The tank body is covered with the same dark brownish-maroon leatherette and has the same brown woven shoulder-strap.

A grip-handle on the motor-end of the machine is made of metal and is covered with inlaid bakelite panels that feature an embossed elephant with a long trunk. (The elephant became a company icon and remained so until 1937.)

 
Model V - 1925

The latest Model V has non-detachable runners that are long and pointy in the rear.

(For more photos of the latest Model V, see Electrolux Model V.) Still has the same attachments and hose as the late 1924 model.

The Rod of Æscapulus (the medical symbol - staff with intertwined snakes) is engraved in the handle instead of the elephant, tying into the new "fetish" for health, hygiene, and sanitation that gripped the home cleaning and maintenance industry in the mid 1920s. (See The Cyberspace Vacuum Cleaner Museum.)

The tank is covered with brighter, more maroon-ish leatherette, and the long, woven-cloth carrying handle was also redone in matching maroon.


 


Model XI - 1927

The earliest XI has a flexible metal hose with a long metal snout that just slides into a Bakelite circular panel in the front cover. Tank covered with dark, greenish-black leatherette. Same basic attachment set as Model V.

Later XI still has flexible metal hose but instead of being chrome-plated is covered with woven cotton, still with two straight, smooth collars. Latest models have two straight wands, each with one male and one female end. The tank covered with black leatherette.

The last XI has a new type of flexible hose (which Electrolux used in basic form until 1956) - an inner coil of spring-wire imbedded in a heavy layer of rubber, then covered with a layer of stout canvas-like fabric, and then covered with an outer decorative layer of woven cloth. The cord connector to the motor was also changed from a small round metal connector to a flatter bakelite connector which is much easier to attach to the machine. The tank is still covered with black leatherette.

For more XI photos, see The Model XI Page.


 


Model XII - 1930

Very early - covered with brown alligator skin leatherette. Hose: woven cloth, chocolate color with black dotted stripes (larger, now-standard diameter hose) - screws into the front cover. Two straight wands with slotted female ends.
 

Model XII - 1931

Later style covered with more commonly seen reddish-brown leatherette. Hose: Dark tan woven cloth, with black dotted stripes, still screws into front cover.

Early XII still had wood and metal dusting brush, non-swivel metal rug tool, at some point the first all-metal “scrubbing bubble” type dusting brush was introduced.

Some XIIs had brown rubber cords and some had black rubber cords. Also, later XII had the first swivel rug tool with crude ribs on top surface for picking up lint etc.
 

 

Model XII - 1933

The 1933 Model XII was the first model actually manufactured on American soil, at the new Electrolux plant in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. (The early XIIs, and all models beforehand, were made in Sweden and imported to the U.S.)

According to Electrolux folklore, the "last straw" motivation to begin manufacturing machines in America was that a ship coming from Sweden sank, and a whole shipment of Electroluxes was lost. (hmmm... I wonder if that ship and its cargo are still in the water. Any adventurous souls want to go on a deep-sea diving treasure hunt for a cargo of about a thousand Lux XIIs?!!)

As far as I know, the American XII was the same machine as the later Swedish version except for identification info on logo/nameplate & serial number plate and the new name "Electrolux."
 

Model XIIA - 1935

Covered with early-style XXX leatherette and had the new XXX-type machine-end hose connector. The gray XIIs were sold as less-expensive, lower-tiers models along with the early XXX.)

Model XIIA - 1936

The same machine as the earlier XIIA except that long, narrow strips (made of some type of celluloid, an early plastic) ran along both sides of the tank with "ELECTROLUX" in block letters against a red background, prescient (in a less-styish way) of the logo treatment on the 1937 Model XXX. Both versions of the XII-A are extremely rare.



 



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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