THE 1939 ELECTROLUX
MODEL XXX

Presenting the latest vacuum cleaner sent to The Home for Wayward Vacuum Cleaners for adoption.

Here's how it happened. As I have said on the main "adoption" page (see link below), quite frequently I get emails from people who have found a friend's or a relative's old vacuum cleaner. Sometimes, the writer is merely interested to know if the machine has any value.

However, many times, these people come to me not to ask about the value of an old sweeper they have found, but whether or not I would be interested in giving it a new home. If someone is dealing with the sadness of going through a loved-one's personal belongings, they may find it unpleasant to look at everything in terms of its anticipated dollar value, especially for personal and household effects. And they may also find it difficult to just throw things out -- particularly with sentimental feelings attached to them. Such is often the case with vacuum cleaners.

Such people usually don't want any money for the machines; in some cases they do not even want me to reimburse the shipping costs. They are often so happy that the cleaner is going to go to a happy home that they don't mind just sending it to me.

And so it went with my latest adoptee, a Model XXX Electrolux.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a man telling me he and his wife had been clearing out his mother's house and found "Auntie's old Electrolux" up in the attic, and he wanted to know if i would like to have it. He said I could have it for the cost of shipping.

Well, I have accepted a few old vacuum cleaners in the past sight-unseen and, while the spirit and intent of the donors were honorable, frequently the machines were in terrible condition and of little or no interest to me. So, even in the face of such unabashed generosity I have learned to always ask for photos lest I pay for yet another grotty "white elephant." And so it was that I replied to the man, asking if he could email me a few photos of Auntie's Electrolux.

The man wrote back and said he did not have a camera at hand. He reported that the machine was "very old" - looked like a 1930s rocketship on sleds, and was in "very nice condition." If I did not want to take it, it would be disposed of.

Oh well. "What's a mother to do." I couldn't bear the thought of what clearly was a Model XXX being "disposed of," even having a feeling that it very possibly was in negligible condition. Otherwise, why would he just want to give it away? So, with some misgivings, I replied saying I would be happy to have it.

A week or so later he wrote back and said the machine was on its way. He had taken it to a "box and ship" outlet and the shipping cost was $65. Ouch. I became a bit skeptical at that since it seemed way too high. But I didn't say anything about it, figuring it would be smart to see the condition first.

Another week passed, and then I got a call from the office manager at my church telling me I had a "huge" box down there from UPS. (I have most stuff shipped there since it's cheaper to ship to a commercial address, and I also don't have to worry about not being here and missing the UPS delivery person.)

A couple days later I went down there for choir practice. I went into the "Mimeo Room" to see my box, and was amazed to see sitting there in a corner a carton about 48" tall and almost 24" wide on each side.

What on earth... I wondered to myself. The temptation was great to open it then and there, but I have learned from experience the folly of doing so -- I have to deal with taking to my van, in parts, whatever was in the box, then deal with disposing of the box and usually a bunch of those vile styro peanuts. So I waited until i got home.

Back at my place, I huffed and puffed and lugged that huge box inside and into the living room. I began opening it, and found inside a beautiful packing job. All the hollow areas had been filled in with some sort of sprayed-in foam kinda like light-density styrofoam. All i had to do was open one end of the box and just peel the box off; the contents slid out in one big mummified piece.

"What IS all that stuff," I wondered to myself, as I saw peering out from inside the foam stuff a large rectangular object wrapped in brown kraft paper, another large object also wrapped in brown kraft paper, and several smaller boxes and wrapped, lumpy objects similarly wrapped and taped.

I carefully pulled away the foamy stuff and tackled the large rectangular object first. It did not weigh much at all. When I unwrapped it and saw what it was I nearly fell on the floor: It was an "Electrolux Air Cleaner and Purifier" box similar to the XXX box I already have, but this box was narrower and longer. I looked inside, and saw a very familiar-looking gray cloth hose wrapped in bubble wrap and coiled around inside the box. I removed the bubble wrap and saw to my very happy amazement a very early original XXX woven-cloth hose - gray, with black and white criss-crossing. I could tell by the tapered handle end, and the way the cloth hose went into a flat collar instead of the ring-type collar of the later Lux hoses, that it was a very early XXX hose!

My excitement began to build!

I opened the large bullet-shaped package next, and I could tell it was indeed an XXX. But when I got the bubble wrap off, just imagine my exclamation of utter joy when I saw it was one of the very early XXXs with the longer rear-end made of heavy-gauge aluminum instead of the thin chrome-plated steel of the later models. I looked at the rear, and saw that it was Style Number 2, which came out in 1939 (see Electrolux History site below). The machine was in amazingly beautiful condition, a bit tarnished but free of dents or scratches.

I continued opening the packages, finding treasure after treasure: The original, first-version of the rug nozzle. The first, chrome-plated bare-floor brush. The chrome-plated dusting brush. The early Electrolux wands with the "circle and three lines" logo dye-stamped into the slotted ends. The original upholstery nozzle, black crevice tool, sprayer, and vaporizer. The early chrome-plated suction control adapter.

Then another find that I could hardly believe -- an early "Basket-style" filter, brand new in the original box, still wrapped in wax paper! Purchasers of the Electrolux back then received an extra filter with their new machines. Here was this beautiful XXX that was so little-used that the filter had not even been changed!

And then yet another eye-bugger: I came to the cord and saw it was a type I had never seen before: BOTH ends are molded rubber with the Electrolux logo stamped in. The female end is not like the later XXX plug -- it is not as long, and it is a single molded piece instead of a rubber outer jacket that fits over a bakelite piece. Then the male plug, instead of being a standard Belden plug, matches the machine end.

Can this possibly get any better or more amazing?!

Well, yes it can. The last thing to come to light was a manila envelope. Could it be...? I opened it up ... it COULD be!! Here in my hand was the original instruction book!! Oh My God!!! Then I opened the book and what to wondering eyes should appear and go fluttering to the ground ... the original SALES RECEIPT!!!

WOW. I nearly had to get out the heart pills.

I connected the cord, hose, wands, and floor nozzle. Plugged it in ... it purred to life as sweet as a kitten! As I expected, it is rather louder in sound than the later XXX even though the motor is not as powerful.

All in all, I really think this treasure outshines all the others I have found. I have very rarely come across such an old machine in such unbelievable condition!

With all that having been said, and hoping I haven't put you to sleep, here are some photos!

 


 


"Beauty Shot" from the inside-front cover of the instruction manual. You will note that this set is 100% complete!

 


Then the "Real Beauty Shot!"

 


"A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

 


Original box.

 


The "Power Plant" as it was referred to in early Electrolux literature.

 


Chromed-steel wands.

 


Note the dye-stamped logo.

 


Rug tool. Note that even this very first version had the "Gleaner" strip.

 


Bare floor tool - made of chromed steel instead of aluminum as later model; note the logo is lower down on its face ad larger.

 


 

 

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Page Two

Page Three

Home for Wayward Vacuum Cleaners

History of American Electrolux - Model XXX

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