Kirby Model Years 1915-1934

The outbreak of “World War I” brought about unexpected changes in Jim Kirby’s life. Deemed too old to join the military he was determined to contribute to the war effort. He was assigned to work in the Cleveland area for the Scott and Fetzer machine company.

Before the war, Scott & Fetzer specialized in manufacturing automobile parts like cam rolls, valves, and pump shafts. However, due to the war’s demands, they shifted their production to Very signal pistols. Jim Kirby, in his role as an expediter, played a crucial role in ensuring the smooth production and delivery of these pistols. Its worth mentioning that “The Scott & Fetzer Machine Company” was founded in 1915 and then incorporated as “The Scott  and Fetzer Company” on November 30, 1917.

When the war finally came to an end, Jim Kirby approached Scott and Fetzer with an exciting proposition. He had developed a revolutionary household appliance that he believed would capture the interest of the company. Eager to explore this opportunity, a demonstration of his new non-electric cleaner was arranged.

Impressed by the effectiveness and innovation of Kirby’s invention, Messrs. Scott and Fetzer wasted no time in drawing up a royalty agreement. In 1919, the “Vacuette” was officially introduced to the market. Its popularity soared, and between the years 1919 and 1930 , over 2 ,000,000 units were sold worldwide.

1919-1921

Models B and M

The Vacuette model B, although a remarkable invention, had its limitations. It was only produced for a span of two years and was known for its bulky design. Constructed primarily of aluminum, it featured a straight wood handle resembling a broom. The bag, essential for collecting dust and debris, was attached to the back of the handle using a simple hook.(the bag had a seamed top)

The bag itself had a distinct brownish color, with the bold text “VACUETTE” printed in black across it. The letter “V” extended with a line over the other letters, creating a unique visual element. Positioned at the back of the machine, the shaft served as the entry point for the suction of dust into the bag.

To add a touch of elegance, a rectangular brass plate was fixed in front of the Vacuette model B. This plate not only added a decorative element but also showcased the brand and model name, further enhancing the overall appearance of the machine.

Vacuette JUNIOR MODEL M :

An exciting addition to the Vacuette lineup was the introduction of the Model M, also known as the Vacuette Junior. This model was released in  1919 and offered as an add-on to the Vacuette electric through 1925. Unfortunately, limited information is available about this model, with only an advertisement found in the Vacuette electric manual. Notably, the Vacuette Junior lacked the Vacuette logo on its bag and retained the original design from 1919.

1921-1923

Vacuette model C and Improved model C

In 1921, a new Model C Vacuette Suction Sweeper was introduced, surpassing its predecessor, the Vacuette model B,  below are the improvements that were made.

The New Model C Vacuette boasted a more streamlined design, crafted from a single-piece aluminum casting. This construction not only enhanced its aesthetic appeal but also provided exceptional strength and durability. A notable exclusive feature of this model was the rust-proofing of all steel parts through Parkerizing, ensuring longevity and resistance to corrosion.

One of the standout features of the New Model C Vacuette was its ergonomic “pistol” grip. Designed to fit comfortably into the palm of the hand, this grip allowed for effortless maneuverability and ease of use.

Unlike other machines that relied on multiple gears, the New Model C Vacuette operated with a single gear. This gear, made from the finest material available (Non Gran Bronze) . It surpassed the die-cast gears commonly found in other cleaners. This choice of material and manufacturing process ensured optimal performance and longevity.

Additionally , the New Model C Vacuette incorporated specially designed ball bearings . These ball bearings not only contributed to the machine’s extreme quietness but also facilitated smooth and effortless operation.

The Vacuette’s 12-inch positive gear-driven revolving bristle brush was another standout feature. This brush, meticulously designed, effectively picked up all lint, raveling, hair, and other debris. Additionally, the brush could be easily lifted out and replaced without the need for any tools, adding convenience to the cleaning process. The size, strength, and quality of the brush were also noteworthy, ensuring efficient cleaning.

Strength and durability were key considerations in the design of the New improved Model C Vacuette. Its robust construction, high-quality materials, and meticulous engineering all contributed to its ability to withstand the rigors of regular use, making it a reliable and long-lasting cleaning solution.both models featured a rectangular brass plate that was fixed atop the Vacuette model C(improved). This plate not only added a decorative element but also showcased the brand and model name. During the years 1923- 1930 a new triangle brass plate was introduced. This brass plate served as a decorative element, adding a touch of elegance to the machines.

1925-1930

“The New Vac-u-ette” and “Wireless Vac-U-Ette”

Both the “New Vac-uette” and “wireless Vac-u-ette” Model C emerged as  new iteration of the previous models. The new Vacuettes underwent a name change and adopted the same striking black, gold, and red design as the all-new electric Vacuette.

The initial bag for this model was black, with the words ” New Vac-u-ette” printed in red and adorned with gold relief lettering. Subsequently, a later version of the bag showcased a power grid design, with the words “The wireless Vac-u-ette” displayed horizontally across the front.

1925

Vacuette Electric models E.L and E.L J

Model EL:

Between 1925 and 1928, a significant milestone was achieved , with the introduction of the first electric cleaner (for S&F) designed by Mr. Kirby and manufactured by the Scott & Fetzer Company.

One notable feature of this electric cleaner was the inclusion of a separable long handle. This handle could be detached and converted for portable use, accompanied by a complete set of attachments. This innovation provided users with greater flexibility and convenience in their cleaning routines.

The electric cord of this model was covered in a cloth braided material, adding a touch of elegance to its design. Additionally, metal springs were fitted on each end of the cord, near the ribbed plugs made of black backlite material. These features ensured secure and reliable electrical connections.

The motor unit of the cleaner featured three wheels, with one wheel positioned at the back and two at the front. All three wheels were of the same size and made of galvanized rubber. It is worth noting that this material was poorly made and is now incredibly rare to find on these units.

The bag of the electric cleaner was black, with the text “Vacuette Electric” printed in red with gold relief. The letter “V” extended with a line over the other letters, creating a distinctive visual element.

Please see below with a list of attachments:

  1. Long hose (8 ft) black with white dotted lines
  2. Tufting tool( also used for radiators at that time)
  3. Hose coupler (8”) made of aluminum
  4. Long tube aka extension tube made in black metal
  5. Introduction of a short hose (3ft)
  6. Blower hose connector
  7. Detached upholstery brush
  8. Upholstery nozzle made of aluminum
  9. Small black l bag with the Vacuette electric logo in red and gold relief
  10. Suction hose connector
  11. Shoulder strap
  12. Lifter Grip
  13. Floor brush (attachment for the front nozzle )
  14. Straight nozzle

Vacuette electric  Model J :

This model featured a switch on the handle and came without the shoulder strap, small bag ,short hose or lifter grip.

In addition it didn’t have the “pistol” grip handle but rather a long broom like straight  aluminium handle with a black cap in its end . It was sold in retail rather than door to door.

** Model shown has a 3d replica bag to visually help identify this model.

1925-1934

Vacuette utility.

Scott and Fetzer unveiled a groundbreaking hand vacuum called the Vac-u-ette Utility, a game-changing electric utility vacuum cleaner that revolutionized convenience and practicality. This extraordinary device eliminated  the need for bothersome attachments and effortlessly cleaned and refreshed  a wide array of items by dislodging dirt with a powerful air blast through its nozzle.

What truly set it apart is its ability to instantly reverse the airflow, enabling the application of moth-repelling crystals without any disruption to the motor. Weighing only  1.5 pounds, the Vac-u-ette Utility is not only lightweight and compact but also incredibly user-friendly. It offered a hygienic and straightforward method to empty the dust bag without the hassle of removing it from the machine, effectively preventing dust from scattering. Additionally, its extra-long 12-foot cord allows for easy maneuverability between spaces. The bag is thoughtfully positioned to avoid any uncomfortable rubbing against your arm or clothing.

Shipper box ,brown with label designation Vac-u-ette Utility.

1928 Aer-Rotor

In 1928, the Scott and Fetzer company introduced  a revolutionary concept the Aer Rotor. Although its lifespan was relatively short, with only 10,000 units produced, this canister-type vacuum  was ahead of its time

One of the standout features of the Aer Rotor was its bagless dust collection system. Unlike traditional vacuum cleaners that required a bag, this innovative machine deposited dust directly into a dust-tight metal container, eliminating the hassle of constantly changing bags.

Designed with convenience in mind, the Aer Rotor was lightweight and featured an easy-to-carry handle, making it highly portable and maneuverable. Its ball-bearing casters allowed for effortless gliding across the floor, ensuring smooth movement during cleaning sessions.

The Aer Rotor’s aerodynamic efficiency was another notable feature, providing powerful suction for effective cleaning performance. Surprisingly, despite its powerful suction, this vacuum cleaner operated quietly, minimizing noise disruption while in use. Additionally, the vacuum cleaner boasted strong aluminum wands that were adjustable in length and easily snapped into place.

One of the most unique aspects of the Aer Rotor was its ability to change the flow of air from suction to blowing, or vice versa, without the need to change the hose. A simple touch of the valve on top of the Aer Rotor allowed users to switch between functions effortlessly. The vacuum cleaner also featured a convenient start-stop control located on top.

To cater to a variety of cleaning needs, the Aer Rotor came with a special De-Mothing attachment specifically designed for shampooing rugs and overstuffed furniture, effectively picking up suds.

Innovative design elements were also incorporated into the Aer Rotor. A patented illuminated indicator mounted atop the power unit served as a visual cue, showing when the dirt container could no longer take in more dirt. This patented feature ensured optimal cleaning efficiency.

Durability and flexibility were prioritized in the design of the Aer Rotor. The electric cord was equipped with non-kinking rubber insulation, providing long-lasting use. For convenient storage, the hose and cord could be coiled onto the bumper located at the bottom of the canister.

The Aer Rotor truly stood out as a unique and innovative addition to the vacuum cleaner market. Its bagless dust collection, quiet operation, and versatile functionality made it stand out. Unfortunately the Scott and Fetzer company decided to focus more on their upright electric vacuums and discontinued it shortly after.

*** 3D image to the left is based on pictures found in pamphlet and isn’t historically accurate .

1928-1934 – Scott and Fetzer sanitation system models E.L and E.L J

1928 MODEL EL

A replica of its predecessor (Vacuette Electric) with some minor design and safety enhancements. The most noticeable change is the addition of a new logo in red with gold relief lettering, displaying the name “Scott & Fetzer Sanitation System.”

The dust bag of the vacuum cleaner has been updated as well. It now features a black color with faint black stripes over a herringbone cloth.

The electric cord  is covered in a cloth braided material, providing a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. The cord is also fitted with a metal spring on each end near the ribbed plugs, which are made of black backlite material.

Handle consists of 3 parts with a lower improved and more streamlined fork design and pin made of aluminum and metal , middle is  made of wood and painted black, same Pistol grip handle as with the previous Vacuette electric model.

The wheels of the vacuum cleaner have  stayed unchanged all three are the same size and made of black galvanized rubber. Rear wheel and front excel are separate to the motor unit.

List of attachments

  1. Long hose (8 ft) black with white dotted lines
  2. Tufting tool( also used for radiators at that time)
  3. Hose coupler (8”) made of aluminum
  4. Long tube aka extension tube made in black metal
  5. short hose (3ft)
  6. Blower hose connector
  7. Detached upholstery brush
  8. Upholstery nozzle made of aluminum
  9. Small bag with no logo printed.
  10. Suction hose connector
  11. Shoulder strap
  12. Lifter Grip
  13. Floor brush (attachment for the front nozzle )

Model  E.L , J:

A separate model with the switch on the handle was produced for retail stores. This model is designed to be less portable and may not have included all the attachments available with the standard model.

1932 – 1934 Scott and Fetzer Sani-Em-TorModel

New and improved Scott&Fetzer sanitation System. The new unit included a new safety switch for added protection during use. To complement this upgrade, a new bag had been introduced, featuring the inscription “Scott & Fetzer New Safety Sanitation System.”

In terms of design, the rear axle now consists of two wheels, while the front axle remains unchanged. All four wheels are  the same size and made of galvanized rubber.

The “Sani-Em-Tor” (Sanitary emptor) :

One of the  most notable additions to the new model is the introduction of the “Sani-Em-Tor”. This innovative feature allows for easy emptying of the dirt from the bag. “Sani-Em-Tor” is equipped with a trap door at the bottom, which can be opened to effortlessly shake out the dirt. This  is prominently featured in the new model and models into the 1970s

Additionally, brush-driven nozzles have been added to enhance the cleaning capabilities of the unit. Another bag design has been introduced specifically for this model, labeled as the “Sani-Em-Tor” model.

Small hose and bag have now been eliminated.

With these updates and additions, the new sanitation unit from Scott & Fetzer offered improved safety, convenience, and cleaning performance.

Attachments:

  1. Long hose (8 dt) black with white dotted lines
  2. Tufting tool( also used for radiators at that time)
  3. Hose coupler (8”) made of fiber
  4. curved tube aka extension tube made in black metal
  5. Blower coupler
  6. upholstery brush
  7. Upholstery nozzle made of aluminum
  8. Suction coupler
  9. Shoulder strap
  10. Lifter Grip
  11. New brush driven floor nozzle
  12. Crystalator
  13. Sample of crystals
  14. Straight suction floor (same as in the Vacuette electric and prior S&F sanitation system.)
  15. “Sani-Em-Tor (Sanitary emptor)
  16. Floor polisher