Monday, March 3, 2014

Some Time Traveling With My Favorite Vintage Electrolux

I needed to clean the lint trap of my dryer today, and the first vacuum I laid eyes on happened to be the 88 1st version. I figured I'd bust out the original hose and attachments, purely for fun, and this naturally led to a little photo shoot.

Assuming this was 1961, and you owned the top-of-the-line Electrolux model for that year, this is what you would have had:

The ensemble shown would have included everything you needed for daily cleaning. The vaporizer and sprayer, while original to the machine, would not (presumably) have been used for everyday cleaning, so I didn't picture them here. One 'false' note...the original dusting brush for this model would have had a bare metal top, with a red bumper, but I don't happen to have one of those.

Fast forward a couple of years to 1963, and this would have been your top-of-the-line Electrolux cleaning ensemble:

The major difference here is the telescopic wand, vastly more user-friendly than the two-piece set. The floor and rug tools also had a spring clip added, and the handikit became smaller. The motor unit also got a rubber bumper. Everything else was the same.

Note: I do have another 88, made in 1965, and it has the plug in the handle for the power nozzle. It was more or less around this time that the power nozzles, power hose handles, and power wands started to come out. I wouldn't mind having the above to make my 88 collection more complete.

Incidentally, both of these 88s run perfectly. The hose, attachments, and wand are in perfect condition, except for the dusting brush. It would have been amazing enough to have had one or the other of these when they were released, but here I am, 53 and 51 years later, with these beautiful ensembles in my collection, still looking as handsome as ever, and still offering their cleaning services.


  1. I just attained a Z88, 1961 model, at the dump. It seems in good shape other than the clasp that holds the front section tight is broken, so suction is lost and the machine will not perform properly. The other problem is that the on/off toggle switch is either seized, it doesn't move at all, and so it doesn't work. The machine can be turned off and on by plugging it in, and unplugging it again.

    I would like to repair this machine for daily use. Any suggestions about repair manuals, parts, etc.?

    I could not find contact information for you on the blog, so I have subscribed to post comments in hope that you will respond to this post.

  2. Excuse me for presuming, but do you have a bag installed? If you don't, the front cover won't close, the switch won't engage, and therefore the motor won't turn on. If you do in fact have a bag in there, then the only thing I can suggest is that something is blocking the plastic rocker from moving back and forth. Try loosening the screws (slightly) on the top metal trim (under the handle and switch), and then see if the rocker moves freely. The same happened to me once, and this fixed the problem. If the problem is a bad connection in the switch, I can't help there, sorry. You could certainly try bringing it to an Aerus repair depot, but they may very well scoff at such an old machine. On the other hand, they MIGHT possibly have an old 80 series machine hanging around for parts. Who knows?

    If you're going to use it daily, do you have a hose + attachments for it? Let me know and I can give you some further suggestions to get it functioning for daily use.

    You might also like to check out the Vacuum Cleaner Collectors' Club (VCCC) website. There are a lot of people there with knowledge of vintage Electroluxes.

  3. Good question!! And right on the money, I have a bag, and a new filter, found them at the dump too, so I cleaned the machine and put them in and the front cover closed just like that! The rocker switch was replaced at some point with a steel push down on/off button on top of the machine, that works too. The machine was dropped off at the dump with everything, manual, original receipt, bags, filters, attachments, hose... amazing. It had been used at a resort, and I guess they decided that after 53 years of service, they would get a new machine. Their loss, my gain!

    I just vacuumed the whole house. This machine is amazing, just as good as I remember my Mom's was.

    I regard having a high quality Canadian made machine as part of my own version of "living the dream". I have Canadian made pots and pans and now a vacuum cleaner!

    Thank you for all the excellent information, and if you think I need to do anything beyond turning it on, with proper filter and bag installed, please let me know. I will also check out the Vacuum Cleaner Collectors' Club website, as I want this machine to last me the rest of my life!

  4. Hmm...if you have all the gear you mentioned above, and the motor isn't making any funny noises, then you should be good to go. Assuming you have the original red hose like the one pictured above, you'd probably do better to make a new one (new hoses are not available for these models). All I did was to cut off the machine end connector on the old hose and glue it on to an Electrolux upright hose. Its completely airtight and makes the 88 perform perfectly.

    Another point: the filters for these are either no longer available or very hard to find, so what I do is buy a Style R (or Renaissance) after filter and cut it to fit the 88. Works perfectly.

    Good luck with the 88. It's a great vacuum. In fact, I busted out my own 88 yesterday and did all the dusting and bare floors with it!

  5. I forgot to mention that you can also buy carbon pre-filters for this machine. You put it in the bag chamber and then install the bag, and it does a great job of eliminating odors. These filters can be bought at Aerus and (presumably) from online vac supply shops...just ask for "Style C carbon pre-filters".

  6. The hose is in like-new condition, seems to work perfectly. Luckily the machine came with a package of filters, so I have a template for cutting new ones when the supply is exhausted.

    The tip about pre-filters is most welcome, I will be looking for them at an Aerus store.

    Thanks for your help, it is truly appreciated!