Electrolux Model LX Extravaganza!

The Electrolux Model LX, introduced in 1952, was quite a wonderful machine. Despite its being rather heavy and fairly awkward to lug around the house, and somewhat an "ugly stepsister" to its far-more-beautiful older sister, the Model XXX, it was in every way a deluxe vacuum cleaner. It had great suction and had, without a doubt, the most efficiently designed attachments of any machine made at that time.

It embodied several major Electrolux innovations. Notably, it was the first Electrolux to use disposable paper bags (called wrappers), and was the first to feature a full-bag alert system.

Boy, does the LX ever have a full-bag elert system! When it is working properly, the machine shuts off, the front cover pops open, and the bag ejects out to a distance of several feet. My world record is a little over seven feet! The mechanism to achieve this awe-inspiring action is a rather complicated Rube Goldberg-inspired maze of huge springs, vacuum tubing, latches and clamps.

(Later, with the new Automatic E, the full-bag feature was greatly simplied although it was still based on the same basic principle-- when the vacuum pressure holding the front cover closed dropped below a certain reading, the latch was released, the cover flipped open and the motor shut off.)

There were a zillion attachments and accessories available for the LX. Check out this first link for a "Beauty Shot" that appeared in the glorious, full-color LX instruction manual, which shows most of the equipment:

 

 

Now, take a look at the following photos of my display, and you will note that I have found nearly the complete set, and even a few other things, pictured in the Beauty Shot!









I do have all the standard original attachments and most of the extra acessories, notably my all-time favorite--- the air-powered floor polisher and scrubber. Mostly what I am missing is cleaning supplies and stuff in jars, bottles, and cans. Here are the items I lack to make an absolutely complete LX set:

— Extra-long hose (I have seen two different lengths of these -- one about 10 ft. and one much longer, at least 14 ft.)

— Grease remover (jar)

— Silver polish (can)

— Cream wax (can)

— Furniture polish (jar)

— Floor cleaner (large can)

— Self-polishing wax (large can)

Now, for some things I have that are not pictured in the Beauty Shot!

First off, note the dark-red accessory stand. This thing has been a real mystery to me ever since I first spotted one in an old photo. The photo was of one of those wonderful piles of trade-in vacs that competitors love to take gloating pictures of! Here is a cropped LX from one such photo:



I knew nothing about the stand since I had only seen it in photos, but of course had been "dying" to find one for many years.

Then, what to wondering eyes should appear on eBay but an LX... with the mystery stand! I was able to get it for a good price... in fact, there were NO bidders for the machine which really amazed me. I wrote the seller and convinced her to sell me just the stand! Here are some of her auction photos, which clearly show the stand:




The dark-red material on the large top panel is vinyl, laminated onto thin wood or stout fiberboard. The whole thing is encased in heavy, very strong solid steel tubing about 3/8" thick (rather thicker than the sled-runners). Thus, this thing is pretty heavy!

There are clips, prongs, and brackets on both sides of the stand. There are so many of these, in fact, and in such a peculiar variety of arrangements, that it's impossible to tell what goes where. So I just put things where they would fit and look good in my display.

I am going to make a wild guess that this stand may have been offered for use in commercial situations. You will note in the black-and-white photo linked to above, that the stand has what does appear to be a longer-than-normal hose (more on this forthwith) draped around it. Commercial use would make sense: All the attachments, not just the basic dusting implements, would be at the ready with the machine. It's one thing to trot over to the living room closet to get out the sprayer or moth-killer; it's quite another thing to have to run down several flights of stairs or out to another building to go the cleaning room of, say, a hotel or restaurant for a needed accessory!

On the other hand, it could have just been meant as a convenient storage accessory. The machine is sort of cradled inside the bottom of the stand, but the whole thing is fairly unweidly and clumsy, and hard to drag around. If you give it too harsh a tug, the whole thing just topples over. It would be hard to imagine a dainty 1950s housewife shlepping this thing around. It does actually function better as a place to keep the machine.

OR, maybe it was used for just what I have used it--- as a display accessory in Electrolux dealerships. I could just envision this stand, the LX, and a nice arrangement of the attachments, in a showroom window! However, that would not explain how an LX-with-stand would end up in a pile of trade-ins. And I have seen several LXs with this stand in a number of different photos over the years.

(Do questions like this drive anyone nuts besides me?!)

Some other things I have that are not depicted in the Beauty Shot include a nice chrome-plated coupler that has a suction power adjuster. It's a tube within a tube. As you swivel the outer tube, a curved slot is gradually exposed which vents the suction. I think this was meant to go between the hose handle and an attachment, or onto the bottom end of the wand and an attachment as it does not fit into the top end of a wand.

I also have some plastic tools that I believe were sold with the very last LX, called the LXI (more on that below). I found an LXI in a thrift shop a few years back that was in very complete condition, including the original hose, and it had plastic attachments-- a round "scrubbing bubble type" dusting brush that's the same basic design as the earlier metal one except it has a ridged design on its face and is made of blue plastic; a similarly designed blue-plastic upholstery nozzle; and a combination metal and plastic rug nozzle.

And I have a beautiful dark-green leatherette storage trunk that I remember that quite a few "ladies" had back in the day to store their Electroluxes.

The first LXs did have XXX-type metal attachments but with greyish-blue rubber trim instead of black or grey; and they did originally have the late-XXX style rug nozzle. However, the last LX rug nozzle is a weird "evolutionary" link between the last metal one and the new combination rug/floor nozzle introduced with the model E. This rug nozzle is a bit rare. I've only seen one or two. You can get a good glimpse of mine in the close-up photo of the machine.

A few final miscellaneous remarks:

Pictured in my display is an LXI, not an LX machine. There were a few slight changes made to the last LX that, in Electrolux's opinion, warranted a separate model designation. These included:

— New swiveling wheel in front, replacing former wrapper (paper bag) storage-clip.

— New rear axle with wheels-- not to be confused with the after-market wheels which clamped onto the rear of the runners. The rear wheels on the LXI were on a whole separate axle.

— New-style flip-open cord winder, instead of the type that you have to remove from the back of the machine. For many years I thought this had been introduced on the model E until, over time, I saw several LXIs with this type of cord winder. It's blue instead of chrome-plated, and the rear area where it attaches is shaped like the rear-end of models E and AE--- different from the earlier LX -- and chrome-plated.

The "purist" LXI had plainer silver side-rails with just an embossed Electrolux logo, instead of the earlier, fancier side-rails with yellow and red plastic inlaid inserts. I added these nicer rails to my LXI because they are so much prettier! Not completely original but I never did like the plain metal ones. They seemed a stupid and cheap way to save a few cents per machine considering how much less bold and prominent the logo was on them.

You will obviously note that the machine needs a good cleaning up and the metal parts need to be polished. Well, I did do that once upon a time. I just don't have time to keep up with it any more --- especially since a week after I polish up a machine it is tarnished already. I have just had to learn to live with dull-finish cleaners.

The machine-end suction coupler of the hose in my display is hammertone blue instead of chrome plated. Officially, that hose was only used on the Model E (introduced in 1955), but I really like it; think it looks nice with the machine; and it is possible that the last of the LXIs may have had this type of hose. The LX and E hoses were identical -- both grey woven cloth with blue chevron-pattern; the only difference was in the coupler.

Well, then.

What, you may ask, does all this have to do with the meaning of life? How does the Electrolux LX/LXI fit into the grand scheme of things? Who knows...? I certainly don't, and I ask myself this very question every day!

But I think most of my fellow collectors can relate to, or empathize with, this driving compulsion to create such a display of this very fabulous vacuum cleaner, and this obsession to complete it with every LX artifact known to humanity!

If nothing else, perhaps some of you might feel a little less insane upon reading how very obsessive and detail-driven =I= am!!


 

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