Kirby model Sanitronic VII -1963-1965

The Sanitronic VII, as you may have already guessed, bears a striking resemblance to the 562. However, there are some notable differences between the two models. Firstly, the cord has undergone an update and now features a bronze lead and tan plugs. (its worth mentioning that on some units from the first year the cord lead was still white.) Additionally, the trim color for the handle grip, bag bottom guard, bag top cover, and floodlight trim has been changed to a vibrant orangey copper, devoid of any sparkle.

One significant improvement in the VII is the introduction of a hose with a universal suction/blower coupling, a pioneering feature by Kirby. In contrast, the 562 and its predecessors utilized separate suction and blower couplings for their motor unit and bag port respectively.

The VII also boasted a fresh box design, with the Handi-Butler still designated as the Mark III.
The dust bag remains the same, adorned with Kirby logos in brown tightly close circles against a tan background.

One small detail from the manual is that you can now see the Kirby logo against a solid tan oval, cluing us in to what’s to come with the next model. You could also differentiate an early Sanitronic VII from a newer one by the logo on the ID plate. Early units showed a circular logo on the plate while later ones had the oval logo.
The “Sani -Em -Tor” is smooth and doesn’t have the sweet-Aire dummy. (See pic).

Boxes are off white with a half-moon stripped design featuring brown and golden stripes with the logo against a solid brown oval.
New larger Crystalator design. “Attachments” caddy renamed “Accessories”

Kirby model Dual Sanitronic 50 -1965-1967

In honor of Scott and Fetzer’s company 50th anniversary, they unveiled a revolutionary update to their product line – the all-new Model Dual Sanitronic 50. This cutting-edge creation boasted a groundbreaking feature: Kirby’s first dual speed motor. Aptly named the Kirby DS50.

For the first time in Kirby’s history, they introduced a 2-speed motor. One speed was designed for regular use, while the other provided enhanced suction for hose attachments. To switch between the two speeds, users simply needed to locate the Speed Selector Switch, cleverly positioned underneath the Air Intake and behind the Attaching Bar. Here, they would find two small push-down switches – one for low speed and the other for high speed. When using regular floor attachments, the low-speed switch would be depressed, while the high-speed switch would be activated when the hose was attached. It’s worth noting that when neither switch was pushed and nothing was attached to the front of the Kirby, the fan would not turn, but the headlight would still illuminate (assuming the bulb was in working order).

The Dual Sanitronic 50 also marked the introduction of the Kirby Carpet Shampoo System, known back then as the Rug Renovator. This innovative feature allowed users to easily clean their carpets with the utmost efficiency. Additionally, the DS-50 was the only Kirby model to feature a lighted KIRBY logo lens on the top of its Headlight Hood. This distinctive characteristic made it instantly recognizable and set it apart from all other machines from the 500 series. It’s worth mentioning that the DS-50, DS-80, and Classic CR all shared the same two-sided Safety Switch, further emphasizing their commitment to user safety. In 1966, Scott and Fetzer introduced yet another remarkable tool – the “Roll-o-waxer”. This separate attachment was specifically designed for floor waxing.The instructions manual had to be updated to feature the “Roll-o-Waxer”,resulting in an updated new manual.

Handi Butler is designated Mark IV.

Boxes design was black print against a light grained wood pattern, boxes included:

Shipper box

Rug Renovator

Handi-Butler Mark IV


Serial designation and dates:

A= April 1965 – May 1966

B= June – December 1966

D= January – August 1967

Kirby model Dual Sanitronic 80 -1967-1970

The “Dual Sanitronic 80” was the only Kirby vacuum to showcase an avocado green theme, reflecting the popular color trend of the late 60s. The packaging design boasted a lighter textured yellow-green hue and prominently displayed the slogan, “More leisure time for you.” The number 80 was incorporated to emphasize the eighty different tasks that could be accomplished with this vacuum system. The bag was designed in avocado green and adorned with dark evergreen oval Kirby logos, spaced approximately ½” apart. The newly designed handle featured golden rays and the “Dual Sanitronic 80” in gold “Sanitronic font”.

In terms of mechanics, the DS-80’s front power nozzle had significantly improved hooks compared to the older DS-50 model. The DS-80 was the first machine to utilize a green plastic suction relief vent, also known as an air adjusting plate a departure from the metal vent of the DS-50.

Kirby introduced the innovative Delta handle with the DS-80, making it the only Kirby model without a piggy bank. All original DS-80/CR/1CB handles were two pieces secured with three screws. If they are solid but the same color and handle style, they are replacements. Later models featured the same color but with Heritage II style handle grips.

While the headlight cap on the DS-50 had an illuminated Kirby logo, the DS-80 reverted to a solid cap. It was also the first model to have a dual-purpose cap on the rug renovator, serving as both a cap and a measuring cup, unlike the DS-50 which had two separate pieces.

Like its predecessor, this model also featured the “Handi Butler”, “Rug Renovator, “Accessories” cabinet and “Roll-o-waxer”(which at one point was designated MARK II).

Serial designation and dates:

A= September 1967 – May 1968

No letter used in serial number after May 1968

Second Generation Kirby:

In the year 1970, the valuable insights and feedback from Kirby Distributors, Dealers, management, and customers played a pivotal role in shaping the creation of the remarkable Kirby Classic, marking the advent of the second-generation Kirby vacuum cleaners. The response from the market was overwhelming, propelling the company to expand its manufacturing facilities beyond Cleveland for the very first time. Thus, in 1972, Kirby West commenced its operations in Andrews, Texas, effectively doubling the company’s manufacturing capabilities and ensuring a seamless production process.

The commitment to innovation and improvement persisted, leading to the introduction of the Kirby Classic Omega model in 1973, which further elevated the performance and functionality of the vacuum cleaner. This was followed by the unveiling of the Classic III in 1976, a model that set new standards in cleaning efficiency and user convenience. The Tradition model, introduced in 1979, showcased Kirby’s first ever disposable bag model to meet the evolving needs of its customers.

Kirby model Classic CR 1970-1973

The Classic Kirby model underwent a comprehensive overhaul, including a reimagined motor housing with lateral vents. The motor housing concealed the rear wheels, while the front wheels were twice as large. The model boasted a striking chocolate brown trim. The mustard-colored bag was embellished with a brown patch and Kirby Classic embroidery.Its worth noting that an iron-on patch version was tried but failed (please see pic.). It introduced a new squared-off belt lifter and was the first Kirby to feature a large 16″ nozzle. Powered by a 6amp motor, it was the final Kirby model to use the safety switch and various internal motor components from the DS-50 and DS-80 models.

The late production Classic CR model included the Shag King, which are quite scarce. Unlike the succeeding Omega model, it was designed with the power cord prongs positioned vertically on the back.

In terms of packaging, the design maintained the familiar Sanitronic font “S” pattern. The shipping carton, accessories cabinet, and rug renovator boxes were all in mustard yellow, with or without texture, and featured brown colored “S” pattern and text. The Accessories cabinet handle is now made of plastic.

This model also marked the debut of the vibrator attachment and was the last model to feature the “Roll-o-waxer”. By 1972 the “Miracle waxer” was introduced resulting in a revised instructions manual.

Serial number designation:

R= January – June 1970

S= July – December 1970

T= January – December 1971 A= January – August 1972

B= September 1972 – June 1973

Kirby Classic Omega (1973-1976

Kirby model Classic Omega 1CB 1973-1976

This exceptional vacuum cleaner boasted elegant rosewood trim and a powerful double-insulated motor, still operating at 6 amps. It was the final Kirby model to feature the old-style Handi-Butler, the Handi-Sharpener and Swedish Massager. Additionally, the Miracle Waxer was included but discontinued after this model. a newly designed toe touch control featuring larger numbers was installed.

The design of the cloth bag underwent a series of transformations throughout its production. Early models showcased a mustard color bag during the summer of 1973. As the seasons changed, the bag transitioned to stylish pinstripes for the fall and winter of the same year. By late 1974, the bag evolved once again, adopting a sleek vinyl diamondback fabric. There were 2 variations with the bag badge color. Some had a burgundy background and others a dark espresso color. I believe that the ones with the burgundy background came in the rosewood color boxes and the dark brown in the dark espresso wood color boxes.

The 1CB Classic Omega came with the standard shag king feature, providing an extra touch of luxury. It also introduced a unique headlight cap and became the first Kirby model to replace the exposed bulb with a plastic headlight lens. The brown T shape headlight trim now featured raised ridges Notably, the power cord prongs on the motor were now positioned horizontally against a brown plastic panel  distinguishing it from its predecessors.

Initially, the Omega sported a black rear motor housing, which unfortunately caused the rear bearing to spin out, resulting in unwanted play. However, this issue was resolved in later versions of the Omega, which featured a sturdy white plastic rear motor housing.

The Classic Omega also marked a significant milestone for Kirby as it introduced a new double-insulated motor assembly, eliminating the need for a front bearing plate. Furthermore, the ID plate now featured a rendering of the vacuum cleaner.

In  1975 Kirby launched their expanded line of cleaning solutions. which now included: Instant suds,Creme wax, Odorific(deodorizer) and Scuttle spray(all-purpose cleaner).

Serial number designation:

M= July – December 1973 (Gold Bag)

N= January – September 1974 (Pinstriped Bag)

P= October 1974 – September 1975 (Diamondback Bag)

R= September 1975 – June 1976 (Diamondback Bag)

Kirby model Classic III 1976-1979

The most significant difference between the Omega and the Classic III is the TCV (Triple Cushion Vibration) cleaning head. In terms of construction, the belt lifter transitioned from cast aluminum to plastic. Additionally, the Classic III introduced a “visual belt” window, eliminating the confusing lettering indicating whether the belt was on or off. The hinged rug plate, which was absent in the Omega, made a comeback. In the Omega, the rug plate could be put on backwards, causing the belt to ride over the bristled part of the brush roll. To address this issue, the rug plate in the Classic III had the word “FRONT” engraved into it. However, this engraving didn’t last long when used on hard floors frequently with the cleaning head. The thread guards on the brush roll were also improved.  the Classic III had smaller end caps and a lower, wider profile thread guard.

The Shag King attachment was enhanced in the Classic III. It now had locks to secure it to the cleaning head, rather than just being snapped on. The Classic III featured a handle grip made of solid plastic. However, the first design was uncomfortable to maneuver, so they reverted to the old design but made it solid instead of hollow shortly after the first year.

Additionally, the Classic III had a thin handle fork, and the metal would fatigue and break down where the pin goes through.

The bag top on the Omega had a hook coming from the center, similar to previous models, but without a chain. Instead, a formed wire was used, which didn’t swing to the right as easily as in previous models. To rectify this, a formed wire permanently angled to the side was implemented in the Classic III to keep the bag at the proper angle. Apart from these changes, the machines were essentially the same, except for variations in color and some cosmetic alterations.

The Kirby Classic III was the first model to introduce the jigsaw  with the Handi-Butler message attachment, which was later discontinued. The Omega was also the last machine to have a cast aluminum Handi Butler housing, while the Classic III had a plastic one. The bag material on the Classic III had a different texture, resembling felt.

In later models of the Classic III, a new and improved “left side” cord hook design was introduced, surpassing the earlier Classic III and Omega models. The bag material in these later models was also stiffer compared to the Omega.

The motor, light, and power switches were identical in both the Omega and Classic III. Both the Omega and Classic III had thin fan cases, which could potentially develop holes if a rock was sucked up. Attachments offered in both models were mostly the same, although the Classic III introduced the jigsaw. Its worth noting that the initial Jigsaw attachment was painted red and later was made in plain black .

Shipper carton and boxes were in either a flat white or light metallic silver woven design against an off white background with the text in rich ruby red. caddy was now renamed “Attachments” reverting to the same title that was used with model 562 . The inflator deflator attachment was introduced.

Handi-Butler is now designated MARK V

Serial number designation:

A= July – December 1976

B= January – July 1977

C= July – December 1977

D= January 1978 – August 1978

E= September 1978 – June 1979

Kirby model Tradition 1979-1981

The Tradition marked the first year for disposable bags, although a shakeout option was also available. It boasted a completely new headlight and lens design. The Tradition retained the old-style handle grip found on the 1CR and Omega models, which was superior to the Classic III skinny grip. The Tradition was built with much thicker metal, with the fan case and handle fork being significantly more robust to enhance strength.

The Electric blue color was a personal favorite, though not everyone shared this sentiment. It was equipped with an 11-blade Lexan fan, which operated quietly, largely due to the sound-dampening effect of the paper bag system. The ID number was molded directly into the fan casing. Mid-production, the suction relief vent under the headlight cap was removed. The front bearing was enhanced to better endure the rug renovator. Additionally, it came with a plastic accessory case, replacing the initial Kirby Accessories cabinet. Aesthetically, the squared headlight hood was a notable feature. The floodlight casing no longer had the T style trim but rather a one piece in front.

The motor and power switch were identical to those of the Classic III and Omega. Early Tradition models from July – Sept1979 had a metal fan (its worth mentioning that many collectors disagree the tradition ever featured a metal fan) and the speed switch was in the headlight cap (see pic). This design proved to be troublesome, and later models adopted the Classic III and Omega speed switch. Subsequent Tradition models featured a new Lexan fan, which was stronger than the previous metal fans. However, the Tradition was hindered by an extremely narrow diameter fill hose, which severely limited suction. This issue was resolved halfway through the production of the Heritage model.

The scuff plate and handle tilt lock button were entirely new designs compared to previous models.

The Tradition had a unique mirror like belt lifter design, unlike any other Kirby models, but it did have a clear lens like the Classic III. The rear shell of the Tradition showcased exposed rear wheels with a new wheel design, making it the first Kirby to use hubcaps on its wheels. The Tradition did away with visible motor vents on the rear motor shell, instead opting for vents hidden on the back side of the vacuum behind the Sani-Em-Tor.

Shipper carton and boxes were in either a flat white or light metallic silver woven design against a white background with the text in electric blue.

*The jig saw accessory that was added to classic III, was subsequently discontinued one year into Tradition sales.

Serial designation and dates:

Tradition 3-CB (July 1979 – August 1981)

F= July 1979 – February 1980

G= March 1980 – February 1981

H= March – August 1981

Kirby model Heritage 1981-1983

Accessories, accessories, and more attachments. The Kirby Heritage model boasted the largest selection of attachments compared to any previous model. From a brand-new Turbo brush to a sander/massager, hair clipper, and many more. Kirby even gave their attachment collections new names to make them sound more professional and commercial-like. They used terms like “Super Renovation group”, “Convenience group”, and “Turbo group”, as shown in the pictures here.

The color scheme of orange and gray was stunning. The rich orange colored bag with the Kirby font “K” pattern and squares in red. The bag now had a white tag with the Kirby logo and the vacuum printed on it in black.

The bag’s top slide was made of sturdy gray plastic with the Heritage and Kirby logos printed on a silver decal The Heritage logo was printed in black on a silver decal, with the Kirby logo in orange on a separate strip above it. The hook was updated and made sturdier. Kirby got rid of the belt lifter window and replaced it with solid gray plastic, the Heritage logo was printed in black on a silver decal, with the Kirby logo in orange on a separate strip above it.

New brushed silver color hubcaps were adorned with a new logo in orange. The Sani-Em-Tor was now still made of aluminum but powder coated dark gray to match the new color theme. it did however maintain the polished aluminum lock lever, The handle grip one solid piece construction was redesigned to be more user-friendly.

Boxes were gray and natural brown with the Kirby “K” pattern and Heritage logos printed in orange.

In 1981, for some reason, Kirby decided to use a cloth Fill Tube assembly that turned out to be faulty. They quickly replaced it with a plastic tube in March of 1982. The optional fabric dump bag was still available upon request. Rug plate was updated.

As for attachments, the aptly named “Heritage Convenience group” included the following standard attachments:

– Hose

– Curved extension tube

– Straight tube

– Crevice tool

– Portable handle with shoulder strap

– Surface nozzle with swivel attachment

– Duster brush

– Turbo brush

– Kirby disposable bags

– Odorific

– Room refreshener (7oz.)

There were also nonstandard options:

– Heritage “Super Renovation group “(1982/1983): This included the Rug Renovator, inflator deflator, air intake nozzle, suds-o-gun sprayer, floor polisher, carpet fluffer, and a 12 oz. Suds bottle.

– Heritage “Handi-Butler group”: This Handi-Butler was the last belt-driven device and originally debuted with the model 509 in 1949.

– “Heritage Home Turbo Group”: This group of attachments featured the Turbo-Sander, Turbo-Groom, massage cap, and related accessories.

– Kirby Care Kit: This included solutions and accessories for stain removal.

In 1983, some minor changes were made and featured in a revised Instruction manual.

The “Convenience group” standard attachments no longer included the Turbo brush. Instead, new additions to the standard attachments were the utility brush nozzle, air intake guard, inflator/deflator, utility air nozzle, and Suds-o-gun.

There was also a “Convenience group with turbo power”, which included the standard attachments along with the Turbo brush.

At one point, a Performance pack was offered that included the Turbo brush, clippers and other attachments.