These days if you are a trendy home-owner with excellent taste in appliances, it is simply unthinkable that you would use anything other than a Dyson Root Cyclone powered, HEPA filtered, allergy certified, fashionably coloured, lavender scented vacuum to clean your floors. Thirty years ago, however, the pinnacle of vacuum cleaners was a burnt orange and brown barrel made by Electrolux.
My mum had an Electrolux, so did Mrsdave’s Mum, and I’d wager that the Mums of quite a few of you reading had an Electrolux too. Here at the Dave from Albury Compound, we’ve had an Electrolux for quite a while too, not one of the 70’s era behemoths, just a glorified dust buster on a stick, but with the increasing ability of Buster Boy and the Troll Princess to spread dirt throughout the house it became evident that we needed some raw power.
Just up the street from the Dave from Albury Compound there is an old tin sign on a garden fence advertising Electrolux sales, service and repairs. I rang the number, and was answered by a man with a slight accent
“Is this the Electrolux repair place?” I asked
“Yes, I can repair all the types of Electrolux vacuums, what type do you have?”
“Well actually, I was wondering if you had any second hand ones for sale?” At this point I could hear a little excitement enter his voice.
“Oh yes, I have some for sale. Brand new motors and all new fittings, they are good as new. All good Electrolux motors, not Chinese ones.”
He told me the price and I made a time to come and see him. I was met in this suburban garage by an tall, thin, elderly man who introduced himself as Otto. Otto told me that he had sold Electrolux vacuum cleaners for over fifty years, and looking around the garage there were relics and photos that told a little part of his story. Otto led me over to a large cardboard box at the back of his workshop area, and as he folded back the flaps revealed exactly what I was hoping to find.
There in the box was a brown and orange Electrolux Supermatic, almost exactly what I was looking for. At this point I was just about ready to open my wallet, but Otto had other ideas. Before he’d sell me the vacuum cleaner Otto wanted to show me how to use each attachment, make sure I understood all of the features, teach me how to properly empty the dust bag and, most importantly of all, demonstrate the raw power of the genuine Electrolux motor that he’d fitted. It roared as Otto switched it on and he took great delight explaining why this was so much better than newer vaccums,
“New ones say that they have sixteen hundred, two thousand watt motors, but they have tiny little fans, they make no suction. This has a twelve hundred watt sealed motor and a big fan sucking at one end and another big fan blowing at the other end, it’s much better.”
I was swept away by Otto’s obvious passion and pride in his work and the product he was selling. Here was a piece of machinery, almost thirty years old, that had been refurbished and given new life. Otto didn’t just want to sell me a vacuum cleaner, he wanted to make sure that I appreciated how truly wonderful this machine was. We finalised the transaction, Otto hand wrote a receipt for me and told me to look after it as he’d give me a 12 month warranty on the vacuum.
I returned to the Dave from Albury Compound where Mrsdave shared my delight at our newest acquisition.
So three hundred dollars later, we have a new, second hand, vacuum cleaner and I couldn’t be happier with it. I think that there are a few things at play here, there’s certainly a retro chic about the Electrolux that appeals to me, as well as a reminder of my childhood, but there’s also the thrill of seeing something recycled, made useful again and Otto’s pride in a product he’s spent a large part of his adult life supporting.
If you’re in the market for a kick arse vacuum cleaner, or if you have an old Electrolux that you thought was beyond its best days give Otto a call and join the old stuff revolution.