Cyberspace Vacuum Cleaner Museum — Sears-Kenmore
The Energex was Sears’ first electric vacuum cleaner. It was advertised in their catalog for several years in the early 1920s.

I have the original bag for this machine but it’s packed away in a box under a s@#$load of other stuff and I couldn’t get to it in time for this photo shoot. It’s just a plain, brown khaki bag with no lettering of any sort. Looks like an old potato sack or something!

No, this is not a creature from Venus! It’s the (Sears) Kenmore Imperial, dubbed the “Bug-Eye” because of its twin, preying-mantis-like headlights. This is a fine vacuum cleaner!

*(introduced in 1939 and sold up through the mid-50s in various colors, including maroon and turquoise!)

Many of the tank-type vacuum cleaners from the late 1930s to the late 1940s embodied a blatant bomb-like design. Was there some subliminal propaganda going on? Or were industrial designers merely parroting in their designs what they saw coming out of the various war departments? Or is it just a coincidence of industrial design?

I have a dozen or so tank machines in my collection that very clearly resemble atomic bombs (e.g. the ultimate phallic symbol of the ultimate masculine power-force...) — the Kenmore Commander perhaps being the most dramatic example with its warhead-like front cover design and narrow-sloping, streamlined body shape that ends at the rear in a snub-nosed taper. Even its model name, “Commander,” suggests military might.

As already noted, the Commander was sold until the mid-1950s. Later models were mounted upright on a wheeled cart with a handle at the top end, somewhat giving them the appearance of a helium tank:


Regina Electrolux Airway
Hoover Scott & Fetzer / Kirby Eureka
Sears-Kenmore Universal Westinghouse
Miscellaneous Exhibits Entranceway Museum Foyer


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