A look at the Scott Fetzer company’s iconic Kirby vacuum cleaner

Kirby G5 upright vacuum cleaner image by Thrapston2.
Virtually unchanged since 1934: the basic design of the Kirby vacuum cleaner, even with gradual improvements over the last 82 years. Image by Thrapston2 (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Share Alike).

In relation to architecture, John Ruskin gave us these sage words: “When we build, let us think that we build forever.”  This phrase can be applicable to luxury goods.  With cars, the Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Lexus marques.  For cameras, the Leitz Company’s Leica cameras set the gold standard.  With vacuum cleaners, some might say the same about the Kirby vacuum cleaner.

Kirby vacuum cleaners are seen at the higher end of the price spectrum.  Even in the secondhand market, prices command three figure sums.  Why are Kirby vacuum cleaners so expensive?  Quality is one thing, with owners having the same models for a decade or more.  The hood is built like a tank; its weight is of great criticism to some users.  Its conservative design, characterised by its metal brush has endeared hardcore Kirby fanatics who have kept their cleaners for 20 years.

Where Kirby differs from Hoover, Numatic and Electrolux is in the sale of their premium priced vacuum cleaners.  Since 1920, Kirby vacuum cleaners have been sold by door-to-door salespeople.  He or she would give you a demonstration of the vacuum cleaner as part of their sales pitch.  Then, the customer decides whether or not to make a purchase.  A demonstration can be scheduled via the Kirby website.

Therefore, the only way you can purchase a Kirby cleaner is via scheduling a demonstration.  This ensures its exclusivity and the proper promotion of its product by well trained salespeople.  Though you can never buy a new one from Currys or Argos, some independent retailers offer reconditioned models.

A Brief History of Kirby

The first Kirby vacuum cleaner was developed by Jim Kirby in 1906.  It was known as the Domestic Cyclone.  In 1914, George H. Scott starts his own business which becomes The Kirby Company.  The following year saw the arrival of Carl S. Fetzer, which led to Messrs Scott and Fetzer forming a partnership.

Its most seminal moment came in 1920 when door-to-door sales demonstrations were introduced.  The first vacuum cleaner to bear the Kirby name is the Model C from 1934.  It is also the first one to have a rounded light hood.  Though the basic design has remained unchanged, gradual improvements were made to subsequent models.  1979’s Kirby Tradition was the first of their vacuum cleaners to support disposable vacuum bags.  The Generation 3 added speed controls and, while remaining faithful to the original design, lighter construction.

The latest model is the Avalir, launched in 2015.  It is noted for its ability to clean hard floors, thanks to its Multi Surface Shampoo System.  Today, its parent company, Scott Fetzer Companies, is part of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s conglomerate.

A Six-Pack of Tennants (and other) Scrubber Sweepers on Video

We at Clean Hire are proud of the scrubber sweepers and similar appliances that are available for hire.  Sometimes, our photography doesn’t do them justice. They are best enjoyed in moving image form, hence this selection of clips.

Each of our clips featuring scrubber sweepers and the like include corporate videos.  We also have one clip where one of Stock, Aitken and Waterman’s productions can be heard in the background.  Ultimately, all of our carefully curated clips feature the machines in action (which is what we want to see anyway).

Continue reading “Scrubber Sweepers in Action”

A trio of terrific industrial cleaners

We at Clean Hire have been in business long enough to know which industrial cleaners suck in the literal sense as well as the qualitative sense.  We offer a small but significant number of well known makes for hire on a business to business basis.  This means everything from the smallest of sweepers to mighty scrubber sweepers.  Also cordless cleaners, petrol-powered scrubber sweepers, and battery operated systems.

For our latest post, we have decided to focus on three of our industrial cleaners.

All cleaners great and small…

Comac Vispa 35b

The Comac’s Vispa 35b is a bijou scrubber dryer designed for the smallest or most congested areas. It is an attractive option for light maintenance work and the smallest of Clean Hire’s industrial cleaners, especially designed for confined spaces.  Available in battery or mains electric forms, it is good for cleaning the nooks and crannies left behind by bigger cleaners.

CFM 3707

The CFM 3707 industrial vacuum cleaner, in spite of its bulk is a quiet yet powerful cleaner. It is a gentle giant which comes in 5.5 kW and 11 kW forms.  At around 77 dB, the noise is no louder than a lawnmower or background music from a radio set.  It is a three-phase cleaner which provides suction more efficiently than conventional industrial cleaners.

Hakomatic 1800

It’s big, it’s orange and grey, and it well and truly looks the part.  The Hakomatic 1800 is your first choice for cleaning forecourts and warehouses. Simultaneous sweeping and scrubbing is possible and it can cover up to 12,200 m² in an hour.  Easy to maintain, it has been designed for use in multi storey car parks and ground level car parks.

For Further Information…

We have a considerable number of industrial cleaners for hire beyond the three stated here.  If you would like to know more, give us a call on 01744 633738.  Or send us an email, addressed to info@cleanhire.co.uk.  We shall reply to your call as soon as possible.

Clean Hire, 01 November 2017.