Cool Facts About Vintage Kirby Vacuum Cleaners
Vintage Kirby vacuum cleaners are some of the most sought-after collectibles in the market today. Chances are, you’ve never heard of the company, but you’ve probably seen at least one of their vacuum cleaners in action and admired its industrial appeal.
Here are a few facts about Kirby vacuum cleaners that you probably didn’t know. Also, find out why vintage vacuum cleaners should be next on your list to collect, that is if you haven’t already started!
The History of Kirby Vacuums
Kirby vacuum cleaners were first introduced in America in 1923 by James Kirby, who was previously a doorstep seller of hand-held vacuum cleaners. He was, however, never able to sell his product commercially due to a patent dispute. He eventually managed to sell his designs and manufacturing plans for $2 million in cash and $2 million in stock—and today Kirby is one of America’s most popular manufacturers of vacuum cleaners.
Some Famous Fans
According to recent estimates, there are more than 5 million homes with a Kirby. Elvis Presley, David Bowie, and Slash of Guns N’ Roses fame, all purchased one. Charles Osgood, host of CBS News Sunday Morning, has owned three Kirbys over his lifetime. Collectors are constantly scouring garage sales and antique stores for Kirbys to add to their collections. Nostalgia for yesteryear or perhaps just a love of vacuum cleaners makes old Kirby collectibles extremely popular among people today.
What Makes a Kirby a Kirby?
For most people, a vacuum cleaner is just that—an appliance to make their lives easier. But for serious collectors, it’s about much more than function. To them, collecting vintage Kirby vacuum cleaners isn’t just a hobby; it’s an obsession. If you think you can handle that kind of dedication, read on!
Why People Are Collecting Them?
People like to collect things for various reasons. It could be a hobby, or maybe they’re passionate about what they’re collecting. The same is true of vintage vacuum cleaners. A lot of people love vintage appliances because they can be beautiful or fascinating when brought back to life after many years of non-use. As these old vacuums are brought back into service, their owners marvel at how well they work, and some owners even discover that certain old models are better than modern ones in certain situations.
What Type of Collector Is Suited for a Kirby?
Collectors of vintage vacuums are likely to be what I call product collectors. This means that they can appreciate a product regardless of its brand, so long as it has excellent build quality and workmanship. Of course, there are plenty of people who have an affinity for certain brands or companies, but these people will usually enjoy any example of a well-made vacuum, especially if they’re collectors.
How Much Do They Cost?
The price of vintage Kirby vacuum cleaners can vary widely, depending on their age and condition. The least expensive ones are probably worth about $100 and high-end models might sell for $2,000 or more. But if you’re looking to buy one that hasn’t been refurbished, expect to spend several hundred dollars. Collectors’ prices depend on a number of factors—in addition to model and condition, they include rarity and popularity in your geographic area.
Where To Buy One?
For starters, let’s just get one thing straight. A Kirby vacuum is a manufacturer brand, not a type of vacuum. There are multiple companies that produce vintage vacuums, including but not limited to Kirby Company U.S.A., Hoover, Electrolux, and many others.
How Much Maintenance Do They Need?
Kirby vacuums require regular maintenance. You should clean your Kirby vacuum every few weeks, but you’ll need to schedule an annual tune-up at a certified Kirby repair shop to keep it running in peak condition. An untuned Kirby will not be as effective at cleaning as one that’s been properly maintained. If you are interested in purchasing a vintage Kirby vacuum cleaner, it’s important to know how much maintenance they require before committing to a purchase.
Where Can I Learn More?
There are some websites where you can learn more about vintage Kirby vacuum cleaners. I recommend that you check them out if you’re interested in investing in one of these beauties or just want to know more.
Meanwhile, check out a collection of photography prints of vintage vacuums here