Monday, November 2, 2009

Vintage Vacuums

I've been thinking a lot about vintage vacuums, not sure why.  I can think of three vacuums that were in my family growing up, and can see them clearly in my mind as I write this.

Above photo from Sew-Vac

My parents had, and still use a Rainbow model D4.  I loved watching the water swirl around in this thing when using it growing up.  The movement made it so much cooler to vacuum the floor.  Another plus with this system was that it didn't have a bag to mess with, and it really did do a good job getting all of that dog hair out of the carpet.  Apparently the water also filtered the air coming back out of it, as well.  Rainbow Vacuum

Above photo from Vintage Microwave

My grandma on my mother's side had an upright Hoover that must have been from the 1960's.  It was a big beige thing with a plastic or vinyl zippered sack for holding the bag, a real metal handle, and a heavy metal base / cleaning head.  It had a light on the front, I remember thinking that was so cool to see the light come on when the vacuum was turned on.  I must have been easily amused.  This thing weighed a ton.  Grandma eventually got rid of it to get something lighter and easier to use.  I'm not sure what ever happened to it, but I sure wish I had it today.  Grandma probably does too...she's gone through three or four upright vacuums since she stopped using that old Hoover.  They really don't make them like they used to.  Hoover

Above photo from Vacuum Service Center

My grandma on my father's side used a classic Electrolux canister vacuum.  It was really neat with the colored metal on the canister, it had such a neat shape also.  She eventually had to quit using it when a mouse got into her storage closet and chewed through the hose for it.  Electrolux

Above photo from

My vacuum of choice is a Rainbow, much like I grew up with.  Mine is a little older than my parent's, it's the model before theirs, a D3.  It does an amazing job.  I got it at a garage sale of an older lady who said that it quit working, so she gave it to me for free...attachments and all.  She told me that she was sure that if her husband were still alive he could have fixed it, but she just bought a new vacuum and wanted to get rid of this one.  I took it home, took it apart, cleaned it up, reset the motor in the cleaning head, and it works like new!  The only part I needed to buy was a $6 clip that keeps the vacuum attached to the water canister.

So, what is your vintage vacuum of choice?

Please note that I have no affiliation with the above manufactures or businesses, and my mentioning of their brand names should not be taken as an endorsement in any way.  If you are interested in their products, please follow the links provided to see their product lines.


  1. Hi Michael!

    I'v found your blog by way of Pam K's Retro Renovation and have become a fan!

    My Vacume of choice is a 1858 Kirby Vacuum. My grand mother bought it brand new, and gave it to my dad, Dad was going to throw it away when he and mom go an "Orec" So i have t and Love it!

    Its super heavy with an olive green cord, and red flannle holding bag. It resides at my All vintage 1943 Lake house and when i vacume the entire nebihorhood can hear! haha

    Cant wait to read more post!


  2. The vacuum I remember most growing up in the UK in the 1980s was "Henry the Hoover".

    It was introduced in 1980 and quickly became popular across western Europe.

    Every child wanted their parents to buy one because they were so cute. But discerning parents refused to buy them because they knew they were underpowered.


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