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In Retrospect
Electrolux – the First Commercial Models!

By Tom Gasko Tacony Vacuum Museum

By 1960, the Electrolux Corporation was ready to take on their biggest challenge ever -- The Commercial Market. One of the first steps to that end was to purchase the White Mop Wringer Company. The factory had recently proven their competence in manufacturing the new power nozzle, rug washer, and cord winder in house. They were now making their own cords and plugs. The model G had been launched successfully, and it was time Electrolux went after the proverbial bigger fish.

The first challenge for the engineering department at the factory in Old Greenwich, CT – was to come up with a vacuum cleaner for hospital use, and a wet/dry vacuum cleaner for the hospitality industry. In 1962, there were no HEPA filter cartridges. Three prong grounded outlets were a rarity in homes as well as most businesses at that point in time.

Electrolux G photo
Electrolux G
Hospital Edition

Electrolux had always embraced the hose and wand type cleaner (tank type) as superior to the upright style – and to that end the commercial models would indeed be canister cleaners. The Hospital Edition of the famous Model G cleaner was launched in 1962. It featured a unique Hospital Filter on the exhaust end of the machine that utilized layers of fiberglass with cotton meshing to filter the air flow returning to the room. This post-motor filter served another important function – it quieted the already whisper quiet Model G's motor down to near silent levels. Outfitted with a 10 foot braided hose and a 15 inch bare floor tool (as well as the standard flip over carpet/bare floor nozzle and flip over dusting/upholstery nozzle) – the idea was that the operator could clean an entire hospital room without bringing the machine into the room.

Essentially, the Hospital Edition was a standard household Model G cleaner, painted in cream with white bumpers and turquoise accents together with highly polished aluminum ends. The vacuum was stunning to look at. A power nozzle outlet (standard on Model G cleaners) made the machine especially useful to homes with people suffering from allergies. This model gave the home salesmen a weapon to compete with Filter Queen and Rainbow to reduce airborne allergens. The selling price was $20 higher than the standard household model. Hospital Edition model G sold for $169. The power nozzle (optional) was $49.

Electrolux CA model
Electrolux CA
Commercial Automatic

The Commercial Automatic (CA) was also released in 1962. Designed for restaurant and hotel use, casinos, schools, churches, etc. – the CA had ten times the bag capacity of the household model. It had a unique wet pick up kit (optional) with a 10 foot rubber hose and a 15 inch wide squeegee. The automatic control (used to shut off the vacuum when the bag was full) also controlled the shut off for the wet pick up tank. Rather than use a float, the CA actually stopped the motor when the capacity was reached.

Like the household models, the Commercial Automatic featured a power nozzle receptacle, and the world famous Automatic Control that guarantees cleaner carpets automatically – by not operating after the filter bag's pores are clogged. The CA also utilized the same Hospital Class exhaust filter system (albeit much larger) that the Hospital Edition model G used. Featuring a 10 foot braided hose, 30 foot 3-prong power cord, and steel wands – together with 15 inch wide attachments, the CA is one of the finest commercial tank/canister vacuums ever built.

The Vacuum Cleaner Museum is very proud to have not only the CA (thank you Evan Rogers) in our collection, but also the extremely rare Hospital Edition in Turquoise (thank you Derreck Fricke). Our collection also includes the bronze Hospital Edition model G from 1967, the last year of production for that model. If you think a Miele is quiet, you should hear (or 'not hear') an Electrolux Hospital Edition model G. Our Commercial Electrolux cleaners were recently featured in our museum, together with all their optional attachments.

Tom Gasko is the Tacony Vacuum Museum curator. You can email him with comments or questions at t.gasko@vacuummuseum.com.